The other night I had the opportunity to hear some wise words from a pastor who has been involved in the ministry for 50 plus years. He currently serves as an Executive Pastor of a large congregation on the East Coast. When put on the spot and asked what he has learned after years of faithfully serving the Lord, he gave three powerful points that I needed to hear.
The Need Is Not The Call
It is important to note the difference between a need and a calling. As leaders, we often are prone to fill slots when a need arrises. It is easy to jump in and take care of an issue because often we have the mentality that if we don't, who will? We need to know what it is that God has called us to and faithfully walk in it. I am not saying to ignore the needs, but encouraging you to not feel held hostage to every single one. Discern what you are called to rejoice in it, discern what you are not, and embrace the freedom.
Minister From The Overflow
It has been often said but needs to be said again and again, make your personal time with the Lord a priority. One needs to value and protect their study and prayer time. Set the time and protect it. Much of ministry is giving to others and ministers need to ensure that they themselves are being fed. One cannot give what one does not have.
The Church Is A Jealous Mistress
Protect your family time. There are always issues, always needs, always meetings. It is easy to run off to put our every little fire, go to every single meeting or event. The church continually calls and beckons us. Often to the detriment and neglect of our time with family. Family comes before ministry. Be home, and when you are home, be present and active. Make sure you go to your kids events, share in these special experiences. Help out at home, take time to listen to how your wife’s day went, take her out regularly for dates. Don't be seduced by the siren song of ministry.
Personally, I needed to hear his words. A gentle reminder that my calling is not to try and be the savior of the local church. A reminder that I must ensure that prayer and personal study take priority. A reminder to avoid neglecting my wife and children, my first ministry is always at home. Prayerfully consider what areas you are struggling in and make the adjustments needed.