I've been a minister for a number of years. Right now, there is not anything I would rather be doing. (I think I say this every year). In many ways, I think it is amazing that I am doing this kind of work. In my high school years or even my college years, I never imagined I would be doing this work. Yet, I do this work and identify my self not only as a child of God but a minister as well.
I used to teach in a small Bible college. I taught ministry related classes for seven years. The students were young and I was not much older. If I could assemble all of those students again, I would want to share the following. I think these are important for a minister or any Christian.
To Move Along in This World
- Have a sense of humor. Far too many people are overly serious. They have forgotten what it means to be playful. Can you laugh at yourself? Do other people feel comfortable laughing at you? Yes, I know that we all must deal with some very serious issues in life. All the more reason to laugh. It is very interesting that Jesus chose to use humor (like the image of a person with a beam in his eye who is trying to get a speck out of another's eye. Picture that one!).
- Grow Up. In other words, make sure you are maturing. If you have always been manipulative or decitiveful, grow up into Christ. Don't stay that way. Yes, we all have insecurities. But nothing is sadder than an insecure minister (or anyone else) who uses and manipulates people to prop us his sagging ego. I want to learn to love people, not use them.
- Deal with your past. All of us were raised by sinners. It doesn't matter how good your parents were. They still had a sin problem. Growing up, we were surrounded by people (reletives, people at school, friends) who loved us and others who may have hurt us. There are people who spend much of their lives reacting to the hurt of their past. Let me encourage you to deal with your past. Do what it takes. I have found it helpful at times to talk with a Christian counselor or a fellow minister. You might consider this.
- Stay alive. Stay current. Read. Stay curious. Learn something new. Exercise and take care of your body. In other words, don't let your mind or body become sedate and passive. Life is to short to stop growing.
- Seek Jesus' approval above anyone else. Some ministers will not think and really look at the Bible. They are far too concerned with what others think. How sad! They may be far too concerned with holding on to traditional conclusions about this or that instead of honestly looking at Scripture. There is nothing to fear in raising questions or honestly looking at Jesus if His approval matters most to you. Far too many people forget their identity in Christ and live for the nod of approval of other people. When enough people in a church do that, the church becomes sick and weak. People learn that they must be careful not to reveal what is really going on in their lives.