I’ve been pastoring for almost twenty years now. This is long enough to look back and wish that I had done some things differently. Here are just a few.
I wish I had prayed more. This one has to go to the top of the list.
I wish I had studied more. I can pinpoint times in my ministry that I was sloppy in my sermon preparation. I can’t tell you how much I regret this now. In terms of other study, there are books that sat on my shelf that I should have read sooner, and other books that I read that should have gone in the trash.
I wish that I had understood myself more. Now that I’m in my forties I have more of a sense of who I am and what I’m called to do. I also have more of a sense of my limitations. This only comes with time, so I don’t know how much I’m allowed to regret this. Maybe I’m just glad I have a stronger self-understanding now.
I wish that I had been more fad-resistant. I wish that I’d stuck to the core and worked out the basics of ministry focused on Christ and his work rather than getting caught up in the latest books, conferences, or movements.
I wish I had focused more on discipling others. The work of the ministry is people. I wish I had been more intentional about targeting and discipling men.
This could be a horribly depressing list. One of my friends asked me recently if I struggle with regret. It was a liberating question for me, because it helped me realize that God’s grace is enough even for the mistakes I’ve made as a pastor. My trust isn’t in my record with its ups and downs but in Christ.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting on some things I’d do again.