Today I’m posting the biggest mistakes I’ve made as a pastor. On Tuesday I’m going to post what I’ve learned that’s helped me in dealing with some of these mistakes.
Here, in no particular order, are some of my biggest mistakes:
Trendiness – In The Art of Pastoring, David Hansen said that he could trace the progress of the different fads and movements as he looked at his predecessor’s library. It’s easy as pastor to be latching on to new trends in the hope that they will provide what’s lacking within the church. I regret it.
Impatience – I tried to take the long view, but I can recall one occasion in which I grew tired of the process and lashed out at people. Moses did this twice in 40 years with greater cause, and he was punished severely. I regret being impatient.
Shallowness – Pastoring requires theological thinking and reading. There were times that I let the demands of ministry stop me from engaging much below the level of practice.
Isolation – I’m really enjoying leading in community, but for a long time, I tended to keep the struggles of leadership and life to myself. That cost everyone.
This list is weighted to the negative, which isn’t entirely fair. But I do wish I could go back having learned some of the lessons I know now.
On Tuesday I’ll share some of what helped me.
The good news is that God doesn’t use people who have it all together. He uses weak and sinful people by his grace, and somehow redeems even our mistakes.
I told a friend that I regretted some of these mistakes, and he suggested that if I ended up like Jacob, walking with a limp, that it wouldn’t be a bad thing. Maybe that’s what Jack Miller meant when he advised pastors to stay long enough in one place to be humbled.