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15 Lessons I've Learned in 40 Years of Ministry

It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone. As we see 2022 winding down and 2023 fast approaching, it offers a good time for reflection. In what follows, Thom Rainer reflects on 15 lessons he’s learned in over 40 years of ministry:

  1. The spiritual disciplines are not only acts of obedience for me, but they are also necessary for my spiritual and emotional survival. When I am not praying, reading the Word, or sharing the gospel, I am more likely to be discouraged and even despondent.

  2. An optimistic (hope and faith-based, of course) attitude seems to be a differentiating factor for many in ministry who persevere.

  3. True friends are priceless anywhere and particularly in ministry.

  4. It’s even better that my sons and my wife are my best friends.

  5. Comparison to others in ministry is an emotional killer. Don’t do it.

  6. Laughter is a key trait to longevity.

  7. Apologize and ask for forgiveness quickly.

  8. Don’t be snarky and critical, especially on social media.

  9. Most crises are not true crises. Give it a week or so, and your perspective will change.

  10. Don’t make major decisions when you are tired.

  11. Don’t denigrate others. It is a sign of your own insecurities.

  12. Silence is often the best response.

  13. Love the church where God has you. The members are not perfect, but neither are you.

  14. Work hard and work smart. Others are watching you. Set the example.

  15. Don’t forget God’s call on your life and your ministry. It will be the single factor that keeps you going at times.*

As we conclude another year of ministry, may God bless you and your service to the Kingdom!

*Source: Church Answers Community Discussion Board – December 7, 2021

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