5 Truths You Should Know Before Entering Ministry

"God gave you the gift of ministry so that you would know him. If you lean into that truth, you will find power, effectiveness, freedom and joy in your work that you never thought possible." - CLeaders

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TylerR's picture

Editor
  1. People will hate you for no reason.
  2. Administration is critical. Learn it and do it or perish.
  3. People will hate you for telling the truth.
  4. "Biblical counseling" is Christianese for "applying the bible to real life." It isn't a science you need to outsource.
  5. Most people don't know or care about the theological controversies you learned about at seminary. Yet, those doctrines are critical for background (rarely foreground) on nearly every single thing you do as a pastor. 
  6. Original languages are important. Don't lose your Greek.
  7. Preaching is when you make God present by proclaiming His Word. Become good at it.
  8. Numbers are meaningless. I know you "know" this, but make sure you really know this.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

WilliamD's picture

All excellent points and Tyler's too. 
also know that you probably won't make it to retirement, so you better get good at some thing you can do when the church fails you and you're out looking for a job. 
 

And about counseling, if you don't understand psychology, mental disorders, personality disorders etc... then you will use your neuthetic approach to hurt a lot of people. 

Jim's picture

WilliamD wrote:
know that you probably won't make it to retirement, so you better get good at some thing you can do when the church fails you and you're out looking for a job. . 

Truth:

  • If you don't prepare for retirement ... you're just plain stupid!
  • I entered the ministry with a bunch of young guys who thought the rapture would 'save' them from the need to save and invest
  • Many of the above ended up with nothing when they were 'forced to' retire. Some foolishly opted out of Social Security and don't even have that!
Mark_Smith's picture

Jim wrote:

 

TylerR wrote:
People will hate you for no reason.

 

Harry S Truman: "You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog."

Applied to the pastorate: You want a friend in the pastorate? Get a dog."

Is it impossible to genuinely be a friend with your pastor? I mean, goodness, we are Christians right? Lovers of Jesus Christ and out to love one another. I realize that many are needy, excessive, rude and boorish, but can't a Pastor expect to find a friend, and a man to have a pastor who is his friend?

TylerR's picture

Editor

I don't know about other people, but I've never had many friends. Never. It doesn't mean I'm not nice. It means I've never found folks I really have common interests with. My real "friends" are other pastors. I do have friends at church, but it isn't a "friend" dynamic. It's always a "pastor/normal Christian" thing. They look up to me, in that respect. I'm not saying I'm not their friend or that our interactions are stiff. I'm just saying it's not a "friendship" in the sense that most people think.

My friends are other pastors. Even then, I don't see them or speak to them often. But, they're the people I most enjoy being with (besides family). have the most common interest with. We can talk shop and be "normal" with one another.

Even at work for my secular job, I have no true friends. I'm the manager. There's always a distance in the relationship. If I ever doubt that, I just have to read the comments on the annual, anonymous employee surveys to be reminded. My back is replete with knife wounds.

Add to it, I'm really just a stiff guy. So, I come to the friend thing with some handicaps; (1) I don't care about things most men are interested in (I actually get along with women much better - not in a creepy way), (2) I'm more introverted, and (3) I'm in authority positions at both in jobs = no real friends.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Mark_Smith's picture

and they call me callous and heartless!

Tyler, I don't like a lot of things either. Pro Football. Yes. Cars? No. Hunting? Couldn't care less. Fishing? Seriously... BBQing/Smoking Meat? Uhh, no.

I read. That's my hobby.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I don't understand, Mark. I'm not heartless or callous. I've just never had many friends. It's not something I'm happy about. It's just something that is. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Mark_Smith's picture

TylerR wrote:

I don't understand, Mark. I'm not heartless or callous. I've just never had many friends. It's not something I'm happy about. It's just something that is. 

It was a poor attempt at blog post humor.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

TylerR wrote:

I do have friends at church, but it isn't a "friend" dynamic. It's always a "pastor/normal Christian" thing. They look up to me, in that respect. I'm not saying I'm not their friend or that our interactions are stiff. I'm just saying it's not a "friendship" in the sense that most people think.

Coming at this from the other side (layperson), I mostly agree with this observation.  I have been "friends" with my last two pastors, at least as much as is possible.  We have shared some common interests (Clemson football with my current pastor, as we're both alumni, guns, music, theology, table tennis, computer technology, among other things).  I have particularly enjoyed discussing theology (in music and in general) with them, and have attended some theological/Bible conferences with them, etc.  However, the dynamic of pastor/member is *always* present (and I was younger than one and older than the current one), and the relationship is not truly one of equals.  In some ways, I'm actually closer to some pastor/missionary friends of mine with whom I don't have that dynamic, as I'm not part of their churches/ministries, even though I don't see them as often.

I certainly don't think that Tyler is being harsh, cynical, callous, heartless, etc.  His observation is simply a recognition of the reality of a relationship that by its very nature can never be equal.  In fact, I would say that if the friendship part *were* equal, then the relationship would not function properly in the other sense of pastor to member.

Dave Barnhart