Last week I had breakfast with a great young pastor who is leading his church effectively in growth, mission work, and making a difference in his community. It was a great time of fellowship.
We talked about a myriad of subjects relating to the work of a pastor. Finally, near the end of our time together he asked, “How do you stay fresh?”
I suppose you have to be a pastor to understand the question. He wanted to know how you can do the work of ministry, especially that of being the lead pastor of the church, week by week, year-by-year and not get burned out. Therefore, he asked the question, “How do you stay fresh?”
I’m not exactly sure how I answered the question. There probably are many things a pastor must do to keep going before the church with a fresh and meaningful Word from God.
Here are four things I believe are essential for doing effective ministry through the years. Maybe these will also help those of you who aren’t pastors.
First, staying fresh means that you remember why you do what you do. You have to focus on your purpose. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves the question of why we exist and what God has uniquely given us to do.
I find that focusing on my purpose reminds me of the importance – – to God – – of what I do week by week.
Second, focus on the needs of your people. It would be easy to get stale in your preparation, delivery, and ministry to others if you don’t remember the people you serve. Like everyone else, I need a word from God. It helps me to remember that other people do as well. Therefore, focusing on the needs of the people around me helps me to stay fresh.
I am awed by how the Word of God continually speaks to the troubles of our lives and our times.
Third, getting into the rhythm of preparation each week helps me keep doing what could become tedious under other circumstances.
Staying fresh may be more difficult for pastors than any others because we all have two, three, or four new preparations each week. Very few people (writers, news people might be others) have such a crushing burden of new preparation.
For pastors, Sunday’s always coming.
Because I have a method and plan for when I study and prepare, it helps me keep going.
Finally, knowing that one day I will stand before Jesus helps remind me to give my best at all times.
No matter what our jobs are, we will all give account of ourselves before God.
Let us give our best to Him.
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