Surviving the Trenches

Surviving the Trenches May 18, 2007

The folks over at the John Leland Center invited me to come speak to a class today about what it is like to be a pastor.

In twenty minutes.

Frankly, there is no way this is possible.

But I did my best. I told my story, which is all I know anyway, and shared a list I made of some important things I’ve learned.

I also shared with the class that there has been no life experience that has tested my faith as much as pastoral ministry. To survive, here’s what I try to do. Join in and add to the list . . . .

Surviving the Trenches:
10 Things I Must Remember

Pray and study regularly; it’s part of your job.

Be vigilant about your schedule and leave the guilt at the door. Remember: you’ll never finish everything that needs to be done.

Visit the old people. They need you and you need them.

The church already has one Jesus. It doesn’t need you to be another one.

Surround yourself with colleagues who know the truth about you.

Remember: you will never be liked by everyone. Never.

Take time off. Do it! The world will keep going without you there.

Marry well. Then, take at least as much care of your family as you do of the church.

Cultivate activities that bring you joy . . . then do them, intentionally and regularly.

Keep remembering, over and over again, what you thought and felt in the moments you knew in the deepest part of who you were that you felt a call from God.

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