Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

3981364314_d4b30cb739_bBy Thom Rainer

If you want to read the tale of a pastor who really did some dumb things, keep reading.

I served as pastor of four churches. It was only by the grace of God and the graciousness of the congregations that I was called and allowed to stay at those churches. I absolutely love the members of those four congregations, and I will forever be grateful to them and for them.

Frankly, I’m not sure I would give myself a passing grade as a pastor. I messed up quite a bit. I would do several things differently today. And as a point of full disclosure, my list of nine is not close to being exhaustive.

1. I neglected my prayer life and time in the Word too often. It sounds absolutely insane as I write it, but I got too busy for God. As a consequence, I operated out of my own insufficient power too many times.
2. I neglected my family too often. Paul wrote these words to Pastor Timothy: “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5, HCSB). Ouch. So many times I communicated through my actions to my family that they were not as important as other church members.
3. I let the crisis of the moment overwhelm me. In doing so I did not trust in God to see me through the situation. And I did not have a longer-term perspective to understand that difficulties are only for a season.
4. I perceived most of my critics as my adversaries. Some of my critics actually had constructive input. Others were going through their own struggles, and I was a convenient target. I took criticisms personally instead of responding pastorally.
5. I competed with other churches. Shame on me. Too often I wanted my church to have a greater attendance than other churches in the area. I should have been praying for and working with those other church leaders more.
6. I neglected praying with my staff. My prayer time with my church staff was haphazard at best. The one thing we needed to do the most, we were doing the least. I was a terrible leader on that front.
7. I often worried about what others thought about me. My sole concern should have been how Christ-like I was. Too often I sought the approval of others rather than the blessings of God.
8. I often yielded to unreasonable requests and demands. Instead of spending my time doing those things that really mattered, I gave in too often to the “squeaky wheel.” I sacrificed the great in order to do the good.
9. I gave up too often. Due to frustration, exhaustion or, more often, lack of faith, I gave up on challenges too quickly. I am convinced I missed out on many victories when they were just around the corner.

Those are but a few of the stupid things I did as a pastor. Most of you can breathe a sigh of relief that I never served as your pastor.

So why I am writing these self-critical comments at this stage of my life? I pray that some of you may see something in your own lives and leadership that you can correct before it’s too late. God is able. God is willing.

I look forward to your comments.

ThomRainer

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on May 4, 2015. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

15 comments

  • Sherene D Smith

    Thank you for sharing. We have start a new church and it has been challenging.. thank you again for sharing your wisdom so we can stay focused.

  • Erick

    Thanks for being transparent. I believe it’s part of the reason people are leaving the church today is there is not enough transparency from the pulpit.

  • Genaro Martinez, Jr.

    Thank you for sharing this, all I can say is I have found myself there many times too. Only the grace of God and the love of the people we serve is what gets us through… God bless!

  • David

    I could add, “I spent too much time being mad at the ones who WEREN’T there and not enough time appreciating the ones who WERE there.”

  • Anthony

    I’ve been pastoring now for over 10 yrs. and I still haven’t perfected it. I have found out though, that the word of God, will always prevail over any situation. Just stay with the word. I have felt rejection, experienced slander, been taken to court, you name it; but God, and His word has always brought me through. And for that, I am encouraged.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Lawrence Kumi

    Thanks for sharing. It will be very helpful to some of us lay ministers. Most grateful.

  • Musa Mitekaro

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings from Africa. I have been so much blessed by your articles. Sharing your experiences is a great ministry. I am a pastor and administrator here in Africa, you have touched my life. God bless you, your family and ministry

  • Deborah Yinka

    Thanks for sharing your downsides with others. I really appreciate the fact someone else goes thru these challenges in serving the Lord Jesus. I think I get how to serve better. God bless you

  • KOFI APPIANING

    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders

  • Dexter

    Thank you for sharing some of the stuggles, and I believe it will help somebody.

  • Jean Jackson Luma

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings From Haitian Community ( Norwood Church of God in Massachusetts) .

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us ,by today I will apply them in my ministry .

    May God bless you and your family

    Bishop Jean J Luma

  • Thanks, when I hear or see someone take a stand for being wrong, I know they are on their way to greatness. Show us oh Lord who we are and how to grow in you.

  • Frank esilaba

    Dear Pastor
    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders and especially me. I will use this in my service for Christ our Lord.

    God bless you, your family and Ministry,

    Bishop Frank Esilaba

  • Ps Ray Terborg

    Thank you pastor for sharing with us your experiences this counts for Every ps bishops this is an eye opener for every leader in THE churches today,
    Thank you

  • Pst. Edith Wekesa

    Thank you pastor greetings from Kenya and for sharing about yourself. It is great that one can admit their faults. it gives me strength to know that the struggles are for all of us, therefore we need to uplift each other as ministers of the word of God all the earth. Its encouraging to share and enable others avoid same mistakes.

One Question You Must Never Ask in Ministry

One Question You Must Never Ask in Ministry

 

By Joe McKeever

“Sow your seed in the morning, and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good” (Ecclesiastes 11:6).

Was it worth it?

You do not know which will succeed.  If both will.  Or neither.

Disciples of Jesus Christ must never try to calculate the cost/benefit of some act of ministry.

Our assignment is to obey. To be faithful.

We have no idea how God will use something we do, whether He will, or to what extent He will.  We do the act and leave the matter with Him as we move on to our next assignment.

Every pastor will identify with the following scenario….

Let’s say a family member of someone in your church is facing critical surgery in another city.  You get up at 3 am and drive the distance, and meet with the family just before the patient is wheeled into surgery.  You sit with the family and do whatever you can (prayer, conversation, witness, sharing Scripture–or none of these things, depending on the circumstances, on the prompting of the Spirit, etc).  Then, you drive home.  You have devoted most of the day to this one act of ministry.

Invariably, someone will ask the critical question.

“Was it worth it?”

Perhaps it was your spouse who asked.  Or a staff member.  Or just as likely, your own accusing heart raised the issue.

You answer, “God knows.”  As indeed He does.  And no one else, for the moment at least.

And He’s not telling.

What follows is my story.  You’ll have your own variation of it….

For all my adult years, I’ve been a sketch artist.  I draw people wherever I go.  When I preach in churches, the host will usually encourage the people to come early and/or stay late so I can draw them.  A typical drawing takes two minutes or less, and I can go three hours without a break.  Once in a while, I will drive long distances to draw only and not to preach.  Several times a year, I draw at wedding receptions. (The first weekend in January, I’ll be in East Texas sketching at the wedding reception of the daughter of a preacher friend.)

This weekend I’ll be at a local church here in the Jackson, MS area.  After preaching in the two morning worship services, I’ll be sketching people and speaking at a luncheon banquet.  Then, the following weekend, I will be sketching nonstop at a mega-church’s Christmas presentations (before and after each of the five events), from Friday night until late Sunday night.  The following week, I will do three Christmas banquets for pastors and spouses in Louisiana.  I’ll arrive early to sketch couples, draw right on through the dinner, get up and do my talk, and go right back to drawing.  It’s an exhausting evening.

But I love it.

What am I accomplishing with all this drawing and sketching?

Honestly, I don’t know.

A family member used to observe me dragging home late at night after a full evening of driving, sketching, and speaking.  Voiced or not, the question was always there: “So, why do you do this if it makes you so tired?”

I was too tired to answer. (smiley-face here)

But I can think of some reasons: I love doing drawing people, it seems to bless people, they pay me (often, not always), and when I stand to speak, the people I’ve sketched listen well. There’s something about the personal time we’ve had at the table while I drew them that seems to bond us enough for them to want to hear what I have to share.

I do high school programs on “lessons in self-esteem from drawing 100,000 people.”  I’ll sketch the kids before and after the program (teenagers love this), then draw the principal and coach during the session and deliver my 12 minute presentation.  Often, a few classes want me to come by and sketch them or give a talk to the art students on cartooning.  Finally, after several hours, the host pastor has to take me by the hand and lead me out of the building and toward a restaurant for nourishment, I am so drained.

And what did we accomplish?

There is no way to know.  And here’s the thing: I don’t need to know.

I do it because God has gifted me with this love for people, a talent for sketching them, and a delight in using the gift.  I walk up to strangers sometimes. “May I draw you?” (A woman with a floppy hat and earrings down to her shoulders, or a man wearing a cowboy hat and a handlebar mustache are just begging to be drawn!)

Friends think I use the sketching for a ministry of evangelism, that I’m winning a lot of people to Christ by drawing them.  I’m not doing much of that as they think or I’d like.  It’s hard to talk and sketch at the same time. And, when we have a line of people waiting, there’s little time for meaningful conversation.

So, what is accomplished?  I have no idea.  Perhaps it’s nothing more than to add a smile to someone’s day.  A little joy.  Or, to build a memory into their lives, when they find the sketch years from now.  And was that worth it?  Again, I do not know.

I do not need to know.

But I will keep on doing this as long as the invitations keep coming in, the fingers keep working, and the eyes and brain don’t give out.  The occasional bout with arthritis is a problem, but thankfully it’s rare and light.

None of us know

We preachers could ask the same questions about the sermons we preach and the ministry we give.  What was accomplished? Was it worth the many hours of study and prayer and work?  The many miles driven? God knows.

And we’re good with that.  Scripture commands: “Do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

Whether we render a solo in church, serve a meal at the nursing home, preach a sermon in the jail, or sketch a few people in the mall, we do this “unto the Lord,” and leave the results with Him.

My friend Bertha bakes loaves of banana bread which she gives away throughout the year.  Jim, a deacon and a friend of 25 years, gives away chewing gum, thousands of pieces a year (the sugarless kind, he is quick to point out).  Stephanie takes her violin into nursing homes and hospital rooms and plays for people.

And when people ask, “Was it worth it?” or “Why did you do that?” we might just smile, but what we are thinking is something like “Ask the Lord who told me to do it. It was for Him.”

“When the Son of Man comes,” Jesus said, “will He find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8)

Those who serve Him in ways large and small without knowing what He will do with their efforts know the answer.

joeeaster2012-228x300

 

Used with permission by Joe McKeever. Joe is a Pastor, Preacher, Author, Professor, Cartoonist, Jesus Lover, Friend.

2 comments

    • Leon Mohammed

      I believe that this a good question to ask yourself from time to time, seeing that we do things sometimes which does not seem to be appreciated, but keep on doing it anyway

Monday Reminder for Preachers

One comment

  • Pastor Mike Murray

    Wow! I needed that today.

    Have been in this church 17 years, and currently have an average attendance of 25.

    There are many who don’t believe in foreign missions. They are willing to help people in the U.S., but not overseas. That seems to be at least one reason the in-actives, continue to stay inactive.

    Some have complained about my doing short-term mission work in Nepal
    and Bangladesh. They forget that I use my vacation time for this work.

    I continue to pray and seek a solution to this situation. I think my ministry is one of planting seeds (gospel seed) in a denomination (Congregational N.A.C.C.C)
    that is increasingly liberal.

    These dear people are good people, and they have in many ways, been a blessing to my wife and I. They just don’t understand the importance to winning people to Christ.

    Thom Rainer hit the nail on the head with his article on why churches are not evangelical.

    Most of the churches I have pastored, have grown after I left. At almost 70 years of age, I’m asking the Lord if it is time for a pastoral move. And, if so,
    where, and how. It seems churches want twenty-year-old’s, with forty years of experience. My gift is hospital/nursing home ministry, and short-term mission work.

    Would appreciate your prayers and advice. I’m not depressed, but frustrated.
    We must all keep on, keeping on with the work God has called us to.

    Keep up the great work you are doing. This ministry is blessing.

    Blessings!
    Pastor Mike Murray
    Litchfield, MI.
    “Only one life, will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ, will last.”

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

3981364314_d4b30cb739_bBy Thom Rainer

If you want to read the tale of a pastor who really did some dumb things, keep reading.

I served as pastor of four churches. It was only by the grace of God and the graciousness of the congregations that I was called and allowed to stay at those churches. I absolutely love the members of those four congregations, and I will forever be grateful to them and for them.

Frankly, I’m not sure I would give myself a passing grade as a pastor. I messed up quite a bit. I would do several things differently today. And as a point of full disclosure, my list of nine is not close to being exhaustive.

1. I neglected my prayer life and time in the Word too often. It sounds absolutely insane as I write it, but I got too busy for God. As a consequence, I operated out of my own insufficient power too many times.
2. I neglected my family too often. Paul wrote these words to Pastor Timothy: “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5, HCSB). Ouch. So many times I communicated through my actions to my family that they were not as important as other church members.
3. I let the crisis of the moment overwhelm me. In doing so I did not trust in God to see me through the situation. And I did not have a longer-term perspective to understand that difficulties are only for a season.
4. I perceived most of my critics as my adversaries. Some of my critics actually had constructive input. Others were going through their own struggles, and I was a convenient target. I took criticisms personally instead of responding pastorally.
5. I competed with other churches. Shame on me. Too often I wanted my church to have a greater attendance than other churches in the area. I should have been praying for and working with those other church leaders more.
6. I neglected praying with my staff. My prayer time with my church staff was haphazard at best. The one thing we needed to do the most, we were doing the least. I was a terrible leader on that front.
7. I often worried about what others thought about me. My sole concern should have been how Christ-like I was. Too often I sought the approval of others rather than the blessings of God.
8. I often yielded to unreasonable requests and demands. Instead of spending my time doing those things that really mattered, I gave in too often to the “squeaky wheel.” I sacrificed the great in order to do the good.
9. I gave up too often. Due to frustration, exhaustion or, more often, lack of faith, I gave up on challenges too quickly. I am convinced I missed out on many victories when they were just around the corner.

Those are but a few of the stupid things I did as a pastor. Most of you can breathe a sigh of relief that I never served as your pastor.

So why I am writing these self-critical comments at this stage of my life? I pray that some of you may see something in your own lives and leadership that you can correct before it’s too late. God is able. God is willing.

I look forward to your comments.

ThomRainer

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on May 4, 2015. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

15 comments

  • Sherene D Smith

    Thank you for sharing. We have start a new church and it has been challenging.. thank you again for sharing your wisdom so we can stay focused.

  • Erick

    Thanks for being transparent. I believe it’s part of the reason people are leaving the church today is there is not enough transparency from the pulpit.

  • Genaro Martinez, Jr.

    Thank you for sharing this, all I can say is I have found myself there many times too. Only the grace of God and the love of the people we serve is what gets us through… God bless!

  • David

    I could add, “I spent too much time being mad at the ones who WEREN’T there and not enough time appreciating the ones who WERE there.”

  • Anthony

    I’ve been pastoring now for over 10 yrs. and I still haven’t perfected it. I have found out though, that the word of God, will always prevail over any situation. Just stay with the word. I have felt rejection, experienced slander, been taken to court, you name it; but God, and His word has always brought me through. And for that, I am encouraged.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Lawrence Kumi

    Thanks for sharing. It will be very helpful to some of us lay ministers. Most grateful.

  • Musa Mitekaro

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings from Africa. I have been so much blessed by your articles. Sharing your experiences is a great ministry. I am a pastor and administrator here in Africa, you have touched my life. God bless you, your family and ministry

  • Deborah Yinka

    Thanks for sharing your downsides with others. I really appreciate the fact someone else goes thru these challenges in serving the Lord Jesus. I think I get how to serve better. God bless you

  • KOFI APPIANING

    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders

  • Dexter

    Thank you for sharing some of the stuggles, and I believe it will help somebody.

  • Jean Jackson Luma

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings From Haitian Community ( Norwood Church of God in Massachusetts) .

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us ,by today I will apply them in my ministry .

    May God bless you and your family

    Bishop Jean J Luma

  • Thanks, when I hear or see someone take a stand for being wrong, I know they are on their way to greatness. Show us oh Lord who we are and how to grow in you.

  • Frank esilaba

    Dear Pastor
    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders and especially me. I will use this in my service for Christ our Lord.

    God bless you, your family and Ministry,

    Bishop Frank Esilaba

  • Ps Ray Terborg

    Thank you pastor for sharing with us your experiences this counts for Every ps bishops this is an eye opener for every leader in THE churches today,
    Thank you

  • Pst. Edith Wekesa

    Thank you pastor greetings from Kenya and for sharing about yourself. It is great that one can admit their faults. it gives me strength to know that the struggles are for all of us, therefore we need to uplift each other as ministers of the word of God all the earth. Its encouraging to share and enable others avoid same mistakes.

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

3981364314_d4b30cb739_bBy Thom Rainer

If you want to read the tale of a pastor who really did some dumb things, keep reading.

I served as pastor of four churches. It was only by the grace of God and the graciousness of the congregations that I was called and allowed to stay at those churches. I absolutely love the members of those four congregations, and I will forever be grateful to them and for them.

Frankly, I’m not sure I would give myself a passing grade as a pastor. I messed up quite a bit. I would do several things differently today. And as a point of full disclosure, my list of nine is not close to being exhaustive.

1. I neglected my prayer life and time in the Word too often. It sounds absolutely insane as I write it, but I got too busy for God. As a consequence, I operated out of my own insufficient power too many times.
2. I neglected my family too often. Paul wrote these words to Pastor Timothy: “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5, HCSB). Ouch. So many times I communicated through my actions to my family that they were not as important as other church members.
3. I let the crisis of the moment overwhelm me. In doing so I did not trust in God to see me through the situation. And I did not have a longer-term perspective to understand that difficulties are only for a season.
4. I perceived most of my critics as my adversaries. Some of my critics actually had constructive input. Others were going through their own struggles, and I was a convenient target. I took criticisms personally instead of responding pastorally.
5. I competed with other churches. Shame on me. Too often I wanted my church to have a greater attendance than other churches in the area. I should have been praying for and working with those other church leaders more.
6. I neglected praying with my staff. My prayer time with my church staff was haphazard at best. The one thing we needed to do the most, we were doing the least. I was a terrible leader on that front.
7. I often worried about what others thought about me. My sole concern should have been how Christ-like I was. Too often I sought the approval of others rather than the blessings of God.
8. I often yielded to unreasonable requests and demands. Instead of spending my time doing those things that really mattered, I gave in too often to the “squeaky wheel.” I sacrificed the great in order to do the good.
9. I gave up too often. Due to frustration, exhaustion or, more often, lack of faith, I gave up on challenges too quickly. I am convinced I missed out on many victories when they were just around the corner.

Those are but a few of the stupid things I did as a pastor. Most of you can breathe a sigh of relief that I never served as your pastor.

So why I am writing these self-critical comments at this stage of my life? I pray that some of you may see something in your own lives and leadership that you can correct before it’s too late. God is able. God is willing.

I look forward to your comments.

ThomRainer

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on May 4, 2015. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

15 comments

  • Sherene D Smith

    Thank you for sharing. We have start a new church and it has been challenging.. thank you again for sharing your wisdom so we can stay focused.

  • Erick

    Thanks for being transparent. I believe it’s part of the reason people are leaving the church today is there is not enough transparency from the pulpit.

  • Genaro Martinez, Jr.

    Thank you for sharing this, all I can say is I have found myself there many times too. Only the grace of God and the love of the people we serve is what gets us through… God bless!

  • David

    I could add, “I spent too much time being mad at the ones who WEREN’T there and not enough time appreciating the ones who WERE there.”

  • Anthony

    I’ve been pastoring now for over 10 yrs. and I still haven’t perfected it. I have found out though, that the word of God, will always prevail over any situation. Just stay with the word. I have felt rejection, experienced slander, been taken to court, you name it; but God, and His word has always brought me through. And for that, I am encouraged.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Lawrence Kumi

    Thanks for sharing. It will be very helpful to some of us lay ministers. Most grateful.

  • Musa Mitekaro

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings from Africa. I have been so much blessed by your articles. Sharing your experiences is a great ministry. I am a pastor and administrator here in Africa, you have touched my life. God bless you, your family and ministry

  • Deborah Yinka

    Thanks for sharing your downsides with others. I really appreciate the fact someone else goes thru these challenges in serving the Lord Jesus. I think I get how to serve better. God bless you

  • KOFI APPIANING

    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders

  • Dexter

    Thank you for sharing some of the stuggles, and I believe it will help somebody.

  • Jean Jackson Luma

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings From Haitian Community ( Norwood Church of God in Massachusetts) .

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us ,by today I will apply them in my ministry .

    May God bless you and your family

    Bishop Jean J Luma

  • Thanks, when I hear or see someone take a stand for being wrong, I know they are on their way to greatness. Show us oh Lord who we are and how to grow in you.

  • Frank esilaba

    Dear Pastor
    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders and especially me. I will use this in my service for Christ our Lord.

    God bless you, your family and Ministry,

    Bishop Frank Esilaba

  • Ps Ray Terborg

    Thank you pastor for sharing with us your experiences this counts for Every ps bishops this is an eye opener for every leader in THE churches today,
    Thank you

  • Pst. Edith Wekesa

    Thank you pastor greetings from Kenya and for sharing about yourself. It is great that one can admit their faults. it gives me strength to know that the struggles are for all of us, therefore we need to uplift each other as ministers of the word of God all the earth. Its encouraging to share and enable others avoid same mistakes.

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

3981364314_d4b30cb739_bBy Thom Rainer

If you want to read the tale of a pastor who really did some dumb things, keep reading.

I served as pastor of four churches. It was only by the grace of God and the graciousness of the congregations that I was called and allowed to stay at those churches. I absolutely love the members of those four congregations, and I will forever be grateful to them and for them.

Frankly, I’m not sure I would give myself a passing grade as a pastor. I messed up quite a bit. I would do several things differently today. And as a point of full disclosure, my list of nine is not close to being exhaustive.

1. I neglected my prayer life and time in the Word too often. It sounds absolutely insane as I write it, but I got too busy for God. As a consequence, I operated out of my own insufficient power too many times.
2. I neglected my family too often. Paul wrote these words to Pastor Timothy: “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5, HCSB). Ouch. So many times I communicated through my actions to my family that they were not as important as other church members.
3. I let the crisis of the moment overwhelm me. In doing so I did not trust in God to see me through the situation. And I did not have a longer-term perspective to understand that difficulties are only for a season.
4. I perceived most of my critics as my adversaries. Some of my critics actually had constructive input. Others were going through their own struggles, and I was a convenient target. I took criticisms personally instead of responding pastorally.
5. I competed with other churches. Shame on me. Too often I wanted my church to have a greater attendance than other churches in the area. I should have been praying for and working with those other church leaders more.
6. I neglected praying with my staff. My prayer time with my church staff was haphazard at best. The one thing we needed to do the most, we were doing the least. I was a terrible leader on that front.
7. I often worried about what others thought about me. My sole concern should have been how Christ-like I was. Too often I sought the approval of others rather than the blessings of God.
8. I often yielded to unreasonable requests and demands. Instead of spending my time doing those things that really mattered, I gave in too often to the “squeaky wheel.” I sacrificed the great in order to do the good.
9. I gave up too often. Due to frustration, exhaustion or, more often, lack of faith, I gave up on challenges too quickly. I am convinced I missed out on many victories when they were just around the corner.

Those are but a few of the stupid things I did as a pastor. Most of you can breathe a sigh of relief that I never served as your pastor.

So why I am writing these self-critical comments at this stage of my life? I pray that some of you may see something in your own lives and leadership that you can correct before it’s too late. God is able. God is willing.

I look forward to your comments.

ThomRainer

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on May 4, 2015. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

15 comments

  • Sherene D Smith

    Thank you for sharing. We have start a new church and it has been challenging.. thank you again for sharing your wisdom so we can stay focused.

  • Erick

    Thanks for being transparent. I believe it’s part of the reason people are leaving the church today is there is not enough transparency from the pulpit.

  • Genaro Martinez, Jr.

    Thank you for sharing this, all I can say is I have found myself there many times too. Only the grace of God and the love of the people we serve is what gets us through… God bless!

  • David

    I could add, “I spent too much time being mad at the ones who WEREN’T there and not enough time appreciating the ones who WERE there.”

  • Anthony

    I’ve been pastoring now for over 10 yrs. and I still haven’t perfected it. I have found out though, that the word of God, will always prevail over any situation. Just stay with the word. I have felt rejection, experienced slander, been taken to court, you name it; but God, and His word has always brought me through. And for that, I am encouraged.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Lawrence Kumi

    Thanks for sharing. It will be very helpful to some of us lay ministers. Most grateful.

  • Musa Mitekaro

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings from Africa. I have been so much blessed by your articles. Sharing your experiences is a great ministry. I am a pastor and administrator here in Africa, you have touched my life. God bless you, your family and ministry

  • Deborah Yinka

    Thanks for sharing your downsides with others. I really appreciate the fact someone else goes thru these challenges in serving the Lord Jesus. I think I get how to serve better. God bless you

  • KOFI APPIANING

    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders

  • Dexter

    Thank you for sharing some of the stuggles, and I believe it will help somebody.

  • Jean Jackson Luma

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings From Haitian Community ( Norwood Church of God in Massachusetts) .

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us ,by today I will apply them in my ministry .

    May God bless you and your family

    Bishop Jean J Luma

  • Thanks, when I hear or see someone take a stand for being wrong, I know they are on their way to greatness. Show us oh Lord who we are and how to grow in you.

  • Frank esilaba

    Dear Pastor
    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders and especially me. I will use this in my service for Christ our Lord.

    God bless you, your family and Ministry,

    Bishop Frank Esilaba

  • Ps Ray Terborg

    Thank you pastor for sharing with us your experiences this counts for Every ps bishops this is an eye opener for every leader in THE churches today,
    Thank you

  • Pst. Edith Wekesa

    Thank you pastor greetings from Kenya and for sharing about yourself. It is great that one can admit their faults. it gives me strength to know that the struggles are for all of us, therefore we need to uplift each other as ministers of the word of God all the earth. Its encouraging to share and enable others avoid same mistakes.

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

3981364314_d4b30cb739_bBy Thom Rainer

If you want to read the tale of a pastor who really did some dumb things, keep reading.

I served as pastor of four churches. It was only by the grace of God and the graciousness of the congregations that I was called and allowed to stay at those churches. I absolutely love the members of those four congregations, and I will forever be grateful to them and for them.

Frankly, I’m not sure I would give myself a passing grade as a pastor. I messed up quite a bit. I would do several things differently today. And as a point of full disclosure, my list of nine is not close to being exhaustive.

1. I neglected my prayer life and time in the Word too often. It sounds absolutely insane as I write it, but I got too busy for God. As a consequence, I operated out of my own insufficient power too many times.
2. I neglected my family too often. Paul wrote these words to Pastor Timothy: “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5, HCSB). Ouch. So many times I communicated through my actions to my family that they were not as important as other church members.
3. I let the crisis of the moment overwhelm me. In doing so I did not trust in God to see me through the situation. And I did not have a longer-term perspective to understand that difficulties are only for a season.
4. I perceived most of my critics as my adversaries. Some of my critics actually had constructive input. Others were going through their own struggles, and I was a convenient target. I took criticisms personally instead of responding pastorally.
5. I competed with other churches. Shame on me. Too often I wanted my church to have a greater attendance than other churches in the area. I should have been praying for and working with those other church leaders more.
6. I neglected praying with my staff. My prayer time with my church staff was haphazard at best. The one thing we needed to do the most, we were doing the least. I was a terrible leader on that front.
7. I often worried about what others thought about me. My sole concern should have been how Christ-like I was. Too often I sought the approval of others rather than the blessings of God.
8. I often yielded to unreasonable requests and demands. Instead of spending my time doing those things that really mattered, I gave in too often to the “squeaky wheel.” I sacrificed the great in order to do the good.
9. I gave up too often. Due to frustration, exhaustion or, more often, lack of faith, I gave up on challenges too quickly. I am convinced I missed out on many victories when they were just around the corner.

Those are but a few of the stupid things I did as a pastor. Most of you can breathe a sigh of relief that I never served as your pastor.

So why I am writing these self-critical comments at this stage of my life? I pray that some of you may see something in your own lives and leadership that you can correct before it’s too late. God is able. God is willing.

I look forward to your comments.

ThomRainer

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on May 4, 2015. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

15 comments

  • Sherene D Smith

    Thank you for sharing. We have start a new church and it has been challenging.. thank you again for sharing your wisdom so we can stay focused.

  • Erick

    Thanks for being transparent. I believe it’s part of the reason people are leaving the church today is there is not enough transparency from the pulpit.

  • Genaro Martinez, Jr.

    Thank you for sharing this, all I can say is I have found myself there many times too. Only the grace of God and the love of the people we serve is what gets us through… God bless!

  • David

    I could add, “I spent too much time being mad at the ones who WEREN’T there and not enough time appreciating the ones who WERE there.”

  • Anthony

    I’ve been pastoring now for over 10 yrs. and I still haven’t perfected it. I have found out though, that the word of God, will always prevail over any situation. Just stay with the word. I have felt rejection, experienced slander, been taken to court, you name it; but God, and His word has always brought me through. And for that, I am encouraged.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Lawrence Kumi

    Thanks for sharing. It will be very helpful to some of us lay ministers. Most grateful.

  • Musa Mitekaro

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings from Africa. I have been so much blessed by your articles. Sharing your experiences is a great ministry. I am a pastor and administrator here in Africa, you have touched my life. God bless you, your family and ministry

  • Deborah Yinka

    Thanks for sharing your downsides with others. I really appreciate the fact someone else goes thru these challenges in serving the Lord Jesus. I think I get how to serve better. God bless you

  • KOFI APPIANING

    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders

  • Dexter

    Thank you for sharing some of the stuggles, and I believe it will help somebody.

  • Jean Jackson Luma

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings From Haitian Community ( Norwood Church of God in Massachusetts) .

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us ,by today I will apply them in my ministry .

    May God bless you and your family

    Bishop Jean J Luma

  • Thanks, when I hear or see someone take a stand for being wrong, I know they are on their way to greatness. Show us oh Lord who we are and how to grow in you.

  • Frank esilaba

    Dear Pastor
    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders and especially me. I will use this in my service for Christ our Lord.

    God bless you, your family and Ministry,

    Bishop Frank Esilaba

  • Ps Ray Terborg

    Thank you pastor for sharing with us your experiences this counts for Every ps bishops this is an eye opener for every leader in THE churches today,
    Thank you

  • Pst. Edith Wekesa

    Thank you pastor greetings from Kenya and for sharing about yourself. It is great that one can admit their faults. it gives me strength to know that the struggles are for all of us, therefore we need to uplift each other as ministers of the word of God all the earth. Its encouraging to share and enable others avoid same mistakes.

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

3981364314_d4b30cb739_bBy Thom Rainer

If you want to read the tale of a pastor who really did some dumb things, keep reading.

I served as pastor of four churches. It was only by the grace of God and the graciousness of the congregations that I was called and allowed to stay at those churches. I absolutely love the members of those four congregations, and I will forever be grateful to them and for them.

Frankly, I’m not sure I would give myself a passing grade as a pastor. I messed up quite a bit. I would do several things differently today. And as a point of full disclosure, my list of nine is not close to being exhaustive.

1. I neglected my prayer life and time in the Word too often. It sounds absolutely insane as I write it, but I got too busy for God. As a consequence, I operated out of my own insufficient power too many times.
2. I neglected my family too often. Paul wrote these words to Pastor Timothy: “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5, HCSB). Ouch. So many times I communicated through my actions to my family that they were not as important as other church members.
3. I let the crisis of the moment overwhelm me. In doing so I did not trust in God to see me through the situation. And I did not have a longer-term perspective to understand that difficulties are only for a season.
4. I perceived most of my critics as my adversaries. Some of my critics actually had constructive input. Others were going through their own struggles, and I was a convenient target. I took criticisms personally instead of responding pastorally.
5. I competed with other churches. Shame on me. Too often I wanted my church to have a greater attendance than other churches in the area. I should have been praying for and working with those other church leaders more.
6. I neglected praying with my staff. My prayer time with my church staff was haphazard at best. The one thing we needed to do the most, we were doing the least. I was a terrible leader on that front.
7. I often worried about what others thought about me. My sole concern should have been how Christ-like I was. Too often I sought the approval of others rather than the blessings of God.
8. I often yielded to unreasonable requests and demands. Instead of spending my time doing those things that really mattered, I gave in too often to the “squeaky wheel.” I sacrificed the great in order to do the good.
9. I gave up too often. Due to frustration, exhaustion or, more often, lack of faith, I gave up on challenges too quickly. I am convinced I missed out on many victories when they were just around the corner.

Those are but a few of the stupid things I did as a pastor. Most of you can breathe a sigh of relief that I never served as your pastor.

So why I am writing these self-critical comments at this stage of my life? I pray that some of you may see something in your own lives and leadership that you can correct before it’s too late. God is able. God is willing.

I look forward to your comments.

ThomRainer

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on May 4, 2015. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

15 comments

  • Sherene D Smith

    Thank you for sharing. We have start a new church and it has been challenging.. thank you again for sharing your wisdom so we can stay focused.

  • Erick

    Thanks for being transparent. I believe it’s part of the reason people are leaving the church today is there is not enough transparency from the pulpit.

  • Genaro Martinez, Jr.

    Thank you for sharing this, all I can say is I have found myself there many times too. Only the grace of God and the love of the people we serve is what gets us through… God bless!

  • David

    I could add, “I spent too much time being mad at the ones who WEREN’T there and not enough time appreciating the ones who WERE there.”

  • Anthony

    I’ve been pastoring now for over 10 yrs. and I still haven’t perfected it. I have found out though, that the word of God, will always prevail over any situation. Just stay with the word. I have felt rejection, experienced slander, been taken to court, you name it; but God, and His word has always brought me through. And for that, I am encouraged.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Lawrence Kumi

    Thanks for sharing. It will be very helpful to some of us lay ministers. Most grateful.

  • Musa Mitekaro

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings from Africa. I have been so much blessed by your articles. Sharing your experiences is a great ministry. I am a pastor and administrator here in Africa, you have touched my life. God bless you, your family and ministry

  • Deborah Yinka

    Thanks for sharing your downsides with others. I really appreciate the fact someone else goes thru these challenges in serving the Lord Jesus. I think I get how to serve better. God bless you

  • KOFI APPIANING

    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders

  • Dexter

    Thank you for sharing some of the stuggles, and I believe it will help somebody.

  • Jean Jackson Luma

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings From Haitian Community ( Norwood Church of God in Massachusetts) .

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us ,by today I will apply them in my ministry .

    May God bless you and your family

    Bishop Jean J Luma

  • Thanks, when I hear or see someone take a stand for being wrong, I know they are on their way to greatness. Show us oh Lord who we are and how to grow in you.

  • Frank esilaba

    Dear Pastor
    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders and especially me. I will use this in my service for Christ our Lord.

    God bless you, your family and Ministry,

    Bishop Frank Esilaba

  • Ps Ray Terborg

    Thank you pastor for sharing with us your experiences this counts for Every ps bishops this is an eye opener for every leader in THE churches today,
    Thank you

  • Pst. Edith Wekesa

    Thank you pastor greetings from Kenya and for sharing about yourself. It is great that one can admit their faults. it gives me strength to know that the struggles are for all of us, therefore we need to uplift each other as ministers of the word of God all the earth. Its encouraging to share and enable others avoid same mistakes.

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

Nine Stupid Things I Did as a Pastor

3981364314_d4b30cb739_bBy Thom Rainer

If you want to read the tale of a pastor who really did some dumb things, keep reading.

I served as pastor of four churches. It was only by the grace of God and the graciousness of the congregations that I was called and allowed to stay at those churches. I absolutely love the members of those four congregations, and I will forever be grateful to them and for them.

Frankly, I’m not sure I would give myself a passing grade as a pastor. I messed up quite a bit. I would do several things differently today. And as a point of full disclosure, my list of nine is not close to being exhaustive.

1. I neglected my prayer life and time in the Word too often. It sounds absolutely insane as I write it, but I got too busy for God. As a consequence, I operated out of my own insufficient power too many times.
2. I neglected my family too often. Paul wrote these words to Pastor Timothy: “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5, HCSB). Ouch. So many times I communicated through my actions to my family that they were not as important as other church members.
3. I let the crisis of the moment overwhelm me. In doing so I did not trust in God to see me through the situation. And I did not have a longer-term perspective to understand that difficulties are only for a season.
4. I perceived most of my critics as my adversaries. Some of my critics actually had constructive input. Others were going through their own struggles, and I was a convenient target. I took criticisms personally instead of responding pastorally.
5. I competed with other churches. Shame on me. Too often I wanted my church to have a greater attendance than other churches in the area. I should have been praying for and working with those other church leaders more.
6. I neglected praying with my staff. My prayer time with my church staff was haphazard at best. The one thing we needed to do the most, we were doing the least. I was a terrible leader on that front.
7. I often worried about what others thought about me. My sole concern should have been how Christ-like I was. Too often I sought the approval of others rather than the blessings of God.
8. I often yielded to unreasonable requests and demands. Instead of spending my time doing those things that really mattered, I gave in too often to the “squeaky wheel.” I sacrificed the great in order to do the good.
9. I gave up too often. Due to frustration, exhaustion or, more often, lack of faith, I gave up on challenges too quickly. I am convinced I missed out on many victories when they were just around the corner.

Those are but a few of the stupid things I did as a pastor. Most of you can breathe a sigh of relief that I never served as your pastor.

So why I am writing these self-critical comments at this stage of my life? I pray that some of you may see something in your own lives and leadership that you can correct before it’s too late. God is able. God is willing.

I look forward to your comments.

ThomRainer

 

This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on May 4, 2015. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.

15 comments

  • Sherene D Smith

    Thank you for sharing. We have start a new church and it has been challenging.. thank you again for sharing your wisdom so we can stay focused.

  • Erick

    Thanks for being transparent. I believe it’s part of the reason people are leaving the church today is there is not enough transparency from the pulpit.

  • Genaro Martinez, Jr.

    Thank you for sharing this, all I can say is I have found myself there many times too. Only the grace of God and the love of the people we serve is what gets us through… God bless!

  • David

    I could add, “I spent too much time being mad at the ones who WEREN’T there and not enough time appreciating the ones who WERE there.”

  • Anthony

    I’ve been pastoring now for over 10 yrs. and I still haven’t perfected it. I have found out though, that the word of God, will always prevail over any situation. Just stay with the word. I have felt rejection, experienced slander, been taken to court, you name it; but God, and His word has always brought me through. And for that, I am encouraged.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Lawrence Kumi

    Thanks for sharing. It will be very helpful to some of us lay ministers. Most grateful.

  • Musa Mitekaro

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings from Africa. I have been so much blessed by your articles. Sharing your experiences is a great ministry. I am a pastor and administrator here in Africa, you have touched my life. God bless you, your family and ministry

  • Deborah Yinka

    Thanks for sharing your downsides with others. I really appreciate the fact someone else goes thru these challenges in serving the Lord Jesus. I think I get how to serve better. God bless you

  • KOFI APPIANING

    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders

  • Dexter

    Thank you for sharing some of the stuggles, and I believe it will help somebody.

  • Jean Jackson Luma

    Dear Pastor Rainer
    Greetings From Haitian Community ( Norwood Church of God in Massachusetts) .

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us ,by today I will apply them in my ministry .

    May God bless you and your family

    Bishop Jean J Luma

  • Thanks, when I hear or see someone take a stand for being wrong, I know they are on their way to greatness. Show us oh Lord who we are and how to grow in you.

  • Frank esilaba

    Dear Pastor
    Thanks for sharing. This is a great lesson for all ministers and Christian leaders and especially me. I will use this in my service for Christ our Lord.

    God bless you, your family and Ministry,

    Bishop Frank Esilaba

  • Ps Ray Terborg

    Thank you pastor for sharing with us your experiences this counts for Every ps bishops this is an eye opener for every leader in THE churches today,
    Thank you

  • Pst. Edith Wekesa

    Thank you pastor greetings from Kenya and for sharing about yourself. It is great that one can admit their faults. it gives me strength to know that the struggles are for all of us, therefore we need to uplift each other as ministers of the word of God all the earth. Its encouraging to share and enable others avoid same mistakes.

1 2 3 4 5