My 22 Best Practices in My 22 Years of Ministry

What does it take for pastors to not only survive but to thrive in fruitful ministry over the long haul?

When I first accepted my congregation’s call to pastoral ministry, a friend from another church said, “I don’t know whether to say congratulations or condolences.” He was familiar with the stress that can come with any ministry and knew that my congregation’s previous pastor had a difficult leave-taking. “I’m worried for you,” he said. He didn’t want me to become another church casualty.

As of this Easter, I’m happy to say that I have now been thriving in pastoral ministry for 22 years with the same congregation!–yes, that’s right, 22 years, which I realize is a lifetime for many. And yes, I’ve had my share of stress, but I’d also say that pastoral ministry has been wonderful, enriching, challenging, frustrating, stretching, heart-breaking, impossible, Spirit-filled, mundane and holy, often in the same day or even in the same moment.

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