There is a lot of great counsel available to pastors in this age of easily accessible knowledge. However, I have spent time researching and listening to a number of pastors across two decades and three continents. From that wealth of personal knowledge, here are ten key points that resonate with me as godly counsel for ministers on the mission field.
- Discouragement: Do not let Satan discourage you with your past errors, unmet expectations, your sins or the sins of others. Avoid empowering the devil to take you out of the game before the Referee blows His whistle (2 Corinthians 10:4-6; Ephesians 6:10)!
- Longevity: There is no shortcut in pastoring. The longevity of your faithful service will be met with challenges, but take it as training ground for long-term success (Philippians 3:12-14).
- Bondservant: Giving your heart to the people and to the service of God is evidence of your love for Christ. Many make the mistake of trying to pastor the church-at-large (the body of Christ) yet neglect the congregation they lead. Dear Pastor, feed your congregation and they will feed the world (John 21:15-17; Ephesians 4:11-14).
- Insight: You must understand that people are not always what they appear to be (Luke 16:15; 1 Samuel 16:7). People you doubt can do much in ministry might later become pillars (builders) in the church while those more likely to be highly esteemed could later serve as bulldozers in the church.
- Relationships: When a pastor reaches the family by building strong marriages and relationships, he reaches the world. The legacy of faith continues when pastors mentor parents and they do likewise to the next generation. Statistics show that 65% of graduating high school students gradually move away from God . However, there is a 300% chance that said percentage reduces when the church gets involved in mentoring parents .
- Success: Your success cannot be determined by how fast your church is growing or its giving capacity. God’s measurement of success is faithfulness (James 1:12; Matthew 24:13). The bible never defines success only when everything is good but calls for faithfulness even when afflicted (Psalm 34:19).
- Marriage Modeling: Married pastors have the critical responsibility to model what a good marriage looks like to the married and single alike (1 Timothy 3:1-13). They achieve this by practicing honesty, transparency, truthfulness and integrity (Philippians 3:10-14). These are character traits even unmarried pastors must display. When pastors express their challenges and how they overcome them, it strengthens other marital relationships. It should also help to strengthen the resolve of those choosing to wait on God’s choice and timing to get married.
- Godly Motivation: Pastors should stop trying to compete against other pastors. You need not be overly concerned with what other pastors are doing better than you. You should appreciate and learn from them, but focus on beating your own records daily. “If you grow yourself, everyone around you will grow because of it. And that goes for any occupation or any situation. Grow yourself and you’ll grow your platform, grow your network .” Success in ministry is about pleasing God and fulfilling His desires for your life daily (Genesis 17:1; Luke 10:26-28).
- Godliness: No pastor is a superhero. One of the hardest things about being a pastor is the constant pressure to maintain the standard of godliness (Hebrews 12:14). The congregation, family and friends of the pastor demand and expect this even without verbal communication. As a pastor, you must remember that as a congregant needs grace to go through the journey of life and maintain such an esteemed standard, so do you (1 Peter 1:13-16).
- Authenticity: It is extremely essential that you are authentic and trustworthy as a confidante, leader and mentor (Galatians 6:6-10; John 4:23-24). You owe it to yourself, your spouse, your children, your congregants and everyone else who looks up to you to be a person of integrity. The LORD Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul are prime examples to base case studies on. In 1 Timothy 1:15, the Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy reads thus, “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”–and I am the worst of them all.” What a confession!
Pastor ‘Lanre Sobo is the parish pastor of RCCG Glory House in Colleyvile, TX.
He has served in ministry for the last 20 years both as a leader and as a subordinate under various leaders. He is currently the RCCGNA Administrator.