I was a pastor for twenty years and loved almost every minute of it. Every pastor knows what I mean by “almost every minute of it.” Pastors need strategic partners to enjoy as much of pastoral ministry as possible.
I wasn’t afraid to ask for help while serving in my first church. My pastor was only twenty miles away and was a world of help as I tried to figure out how to do ministry in a tiny town. My family lived thirty minutes away. Seminary commuting partners served nearby. I had an excellent support network.
When I graduated with my first seminary degree and moved on to a larger church in a larger town, I also moved away from that support network. I was in my late twenties and had a degree and three years of experience. The new church was one of the larger churches in the area. Therefore, I needed to demonstrate my competence. “Prove Thyself” was my philosophy.
What I proved was that I needed to develop a new support network quickly. Fortunately, an associational minister and a chronologically-advanced pastor took me under their wings. I developed new relationships with other young pastors when I began DMin studies.
I moved to a large church in a large community after completing that degree. (This seems to be an unwritten requirement of the degree program.) The church staff became my new support network. That support network changed as staff members moved onto and away from our staff over ten years of ministry. I added outside influences to that support network more slowly than I should have.
I hired a coach before I left the pastorate for full-time consulting. The coach walked me through the process of refining my life mission, vision, values, and goals.
I discovered a new kind of ministry that would allow me to fully invest my life in the lives and ministries of others helping them become all they can be in Christ. Now I have the joy of serving in the position God was preparing me for all along. I enjoyed the coaching experience so much that I began coach training earlier this year.
I discovered along the way that pastors need mentors, coaches, and friends to succeed in ministry. We need to move from Prove Thyself to Know Thyself and Grow Thyself. Mentors, coaches, and friends help us know and grow.
Mentors serve as counselors and teachers. These are the wise ones who have been there and done that. They show us how to do what they have mastered through years of ministry experience.
Coaches are peers who assume that we are the experts in our own lives. They know that we know our unique settings better than they ever will. They believe the best about us and help us improve our performance. They do this by asking questions that enable us to align our thoughts in a way that leads to productive activity.
Friends love us even when we don’t feel lovable. Someone said that “A friend is like having an extra life,” and “A friend steps in when others step out.” “Faithful are the wounds of a friend,” (Prov. 27:6).
Who mentors you? Do you have that older, wiser individual who breathes life and knowledge into you? Do you have long-distance mentors who, through their conferences, books, and recorded matter, instruct and inspire you?
Do you have a coach who asks the right questions that cut to the heart of what you need to consider?
Do you have a friend or two who will stick by you no matter what? Do these friends encourage you and hold you accountable?
Celebrate the mentors, coaches, and friends who make your ministry better. Add those you need to improve your abilities. Live these roles for others who need your wisdom and experience.
Source: CHURCH CENTRAL