Ministry Advice From An “Old” Minister

I had a reality check this week when a “young” minister called me wanting some ministry advise from an “older minister.” What exactly did he mean by “older preacher?”  Come to think of it, maybe he was wanting Patrick Mead’s number … he’s much older and much wiser than I am.

Funny thing was, I’m usually the one calling the “older preachers” asking them for advice. I’m NOT the older preacher! Who knows, maybe that means I’m getting … old?

I’m no ministry expert, but I got to thinking about his question … so here’s a few things I’d tell any young minister just starting into ministry…

  1. Don’t be afraid to dream big or try things that might not work. It’s better to make mistakes or sometimes fail then never try at all.
  2. It’s okay to preach sermons on hell because it is a biblical topic. But if you’re wanting to motivate people to follow Jesus, do it by preaching God’s love, not by scaring the hell out of them.
  3. If you’ll smother those who gripe and complain with love, grace and patience, they’re more likely to become your friend instead of your enemy.
  4. Ministry is about people. When you’re no longer involved in people’s lives, you’re no longer involved in ministry.
  5. Nothing will kill a ministry quicker than the three G’s – gold, glory and girls. Avoid them.
  6. There’s a fine line between faith and stupidity. Knowing the difference can make all the difference.
  7. Remember who you’re serving and working for … it’s God you’re striving to please.
  8. You won’t please everyone all the time, so don’t try. Some people just won’t like you, and that’s okay.
  9. Keep a level head … you’re not nearly as great as some people think you are.
  10. Be patient … it takes a while for people and churches to change.
  11. When people in the church hurt you, love them anyway.
  12. Never stop learning and never stop trying to improve.
  13. Get out among the people. You’ll never save the world sitting in your office designing a cool bulletin heading or blog design.
  14. Delegate. You can’t do everything, so don’t try.
  15. Get out of your comfort zone. Take a risk.
  16. See lost people as … people that God loves deeply, not as mission projects or prospects.
  17. Take as much time nurturing your own spiritual life as you do others.
  18. Family is more important than your ministry. Put your family first.
  19. Ministry is not a job. When you begin to see it as just a job, you need to get out of ministry and do something else.
  20. It’s okay to rest, relax and sometimes go hide. Jesus did.
  21. Seek wisdom from others. There’s some smart people out there … just don’t call them wanting advice from an “old minister.”
Got any ministry advice you’d share with a new minister?

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
8 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Glenn says:

    Great stuff. Common thread – it’s all about God, family, people.

    Most (if not all) of these apply to lay ministers as well, don’t you think? (I try not to ‘preach sermons’, but I’ve been accused of preaching to my kids – by my kids.)

    • Sarah S. says:

      Wholeheartedly agree that we lay ministers should take this to heart, Glenn — and, man, can I PREACH when called on to do so! :-)

  2. Greg England says:

    It’s a shocking realization to learn not everyone will like you, isn’t it?

    Very good, “old man,” very good. A lot of elders could learn from this list as well, particularly getting out among the people rather than staying in an office.

    Though I’m not a preacher any longer, if I need to talk with an older preacher I know who to call.

  3. Jeff LupPlace says:

    I am thankful for the older ministers. Where I am we have no elders and unfortunatly the other churches refuse to associate with us because of “stuff” that happened 50 years ago so I am thankful that I have been able to get in contact with ministers more experienced than myself to go over things with. It helps me to remember the brotherhood that I am a part of and the honor and responsibility that it is to minister for the Lord to the people.

  4. Sarah S. says:

    Love your #3 — a very wise woman recently told me, regarding teenage angst, to treat my teens like I was their grandmother instead of their mother. Love them anyway. Everything they do is adorable. Can’t get enough of them. And you know what? They are so much more fun to be around now…

    Love all of them, even the painful ones. Thanks so much!

  5. zack blaisdell says:

    Trey, all very sound advice. Thank you! God bless. Grace and Peace.

  6. […] do you know a new pastor just starting out?  Trey Morgan has 21 tips for a young minister, from a not-so-old […]

  7. Clark says:

    #1 almost looks like “It is better to try big things and fail than to try nothing and succeed.” I will sheepishly admit to quoting that from a Chinese fortune cookie, but “try nothing and succeed” has a certain bite to it.

    I have been ask for advice in the past and then gotten upset that the person asking proceeded to not follow said advice. I’ve had to accept that advising is not prescribing. Thanks for sharing Trey, but realize that some people will still have to learn the hard way.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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