Don’t think God needs you in the ministry. The truth is you need Him more than He needs you. His work can continue without your help. So be thankful to God if He is using you in the building up of His church. To be a minister is a great privilege from the Lord. Think about this: you are serving the Maker of heaven and earth.
With God’s help, in 2001 I graduated from The Center for Biblical Studies Institute and Seminary in the Philippines. That same year I received a call to pastor the congregation, where I previously did my internship. The year 2021 therefore marks my 20th year in the ministry. Throughout my life as a pastor, I have collected reflections that I would like to share with my fellow ministers and with those who desire to be pastors someday. Here are twenty of those reflections:
1. Pastoring is a calling from God. Having a degree from a seminary is not a guarantee that you have this ministerial calling. Some graduate from the seminary but are not in the ministry, or do not stay long in the ministry, because they do not have the pastoral calling.
2. The God who has called you to the ministry will also provide for you. He will prepare you for the ministry. He will give you a congregation to serve and will sustain you throughout your life in the ministry.
3. Don’t accept a call to pastor a congregation unless you are really convinced the Lord is calling you to serve that church. Why? Because when problems arise from that church, your strong conviction of God’s calling will encourage you to continue serving your congregation amid difficulties. You can say, “Lord, You have called me to serve You in this church and I know You will sustain me.”
4. God resists the proud in the ministry. Thus, expect God to humble you. Sometimes He humbles His servants through infirmity. All accomplished pastors I know have a form of affliction that keeps them humble before God. At the end of the day, God will use the ministry to sanctify you. God’s main goal in your life is to conform you to the image of His Son Jesus Christ.
5. Your wife can be a great help to you in the ministry. If you are a pastor and not yet married and desire to get married, look prayerfully for a godly woman who will serve with you, not hinder you. If you were already married when you became a minister, help your wife understand the nature of the ministry and thank God for giving you a help mate.
6. Your family is your priority over your ministry. As Paul indicates in 1 Timothy 3:4–5, “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” If you neglect your family, your congregation will suffer eventually.
7. Despite your busy schedule in the ministry, don’t forget to spend quality time with your wife. Yes, you can see each other every day but still have a sense of missing each other. That’s because you do not really spend quality time with her. Take her out. Do things together you both enjoy. Encourage and compliment her. Pray with her. Love her, as Christ loves the church.
8. Equally important is to spend quality time with your children. Pray and play with them. Sadly, sometimes pastor’s children grow to resent the church and the ministry because their father simply was not there for them. I remember one pastor’s kid telling me how he would never want to become a pastor. I asked him why. He said, “When a member of our congregation needed my dad, he was there right away. But when I needed my dad, he barely had time to even listen to me.”
9. God has called you primarily to preach His Word and pray. Therefore, learn to delegate your other responsibilities to others, so that you can devote yourself to prayer and to the ministry of the word (Acts 6:2–4). Don’t think that you have to do everything. The truth is you can’t!