Last week, I met with the interns of Clifton Baptist Church to do a Q and A time about several different issues of pastoral ministry. It was a sweet time of fellowship with a gracious, teachable bunch of young, aspiring pastors. One of the most important questions I was asked was in regard to the priorities of a pastor and how they should be ranked and balanced. In the midst of many facets of pastoral ministry, here was my short list and order starting with the most important:
1) Faithfully walking with the Lord. Without a faithful, daily walk with our Savior, we will fail to be effective and will not be good for anyone to whom we try to minister.
2) Consistent shepherding of our family. I once was told, “You can always have another ministry. You only have one wife.” Enough said.
3) Dedication to prayer and the ministry of the Word of God. This is the heart of our calling. The pastor is pulled in all sorts of directions. We must never allow them to neglect our commitment to prayerfully prepare and minister God’s Word both publicly and privately.
4) Shepherding of God’s people. Be closely involved in our people’s lives. Care for widows, visit the sick, encourage the down cast, confront battles with sin, equip your people to serve, etc. If we are not studying and preparing, we need to be with our people and involved in their lives.
As you are hammered by the numerous demands that daily accompany pastoral ministry, make sure these 4 priorities dominate your time. A more in depth summary of my time with these young, aspiring pastors can be read on this blog post written by one of the interns present at this discussion.