What should a pastor do in his first few years at a church?

So many of the mistakes and missteps a pastor makes in a church as the new pastor comes from a lack of knowledge of what to do. The absence of clear thinking on this matter causes a pastor to listen to all kinds of different voices and hastily react to what he finds and hears in his church. Some say change everything immediately. Others urge a pastor to look outside the church for new life.

If a pastor does not have a solid handle on what to do and even a better idea of what not to do, he will react and make quick decisions based on the mess he finds.

A pastor needs to be trained not to be reactionary regarding the dysfunction and turmoil he finds, but to have a clear plan on how his time should be spent during his first few years, regardless of what problems he inherits. The best approach for a pastor, especially when entering a dysfunctional, dying congregation is to simply be a pastor to those people. This is why pastors need to be trained in the practicalities of pastoral theology so to be equipped in the work of the ministry.

A simple definition of pastoral theology is the application of biblical theology in a pastoral manner for the purpose of caring for God’s people.

That is, pastoral theology informs a pastor of the day-to-day tasks of a pastor with the aim of ministering to God’s people. These tasks include such things as preaching, praying, visiting the sick, caring for widows, discipling others, raising up leaders, encouraging the weak, conducting weddings and funerals, to name a few.

The key to applying pastoral theology in a church is centered on these two principles: The biblical tasks of a pastor for the sake of caring for the flock. The absence of biblical pastoral theology often leads to pragmatism. The absence of intentional, wise, and creative desires to minister to God’s people and meet them where they are can create the purist. A pastor should not place the crushing expectation on himself of transforming the church in eighteen months, but should simply come with a clear vision of what his calling is as a shepherd and pastor and do that with all his might. First and foremost, prepare to just be patient and shepherd the souls of the people who are there when you arrive. This allows a pastor to do what he can do and allows God time to do what only he can do.

Posted in Oversight of Souls, The Pastor's Soul, Training for Ministry

What are 10 tips when visiting new parents in the hospital?



We have had many new babies born into our congregation in the last several years.  Pastors, seize every opportunity to go to the hospital on these occasions to see new born babies.  It is some of the only times you go to the hospital to celebrate.

Here is a list of 10 practical tips:


1)      Be mindful of the stress and lack of sleep of new parents.

2)      Be sensitive to the mother’s recovery.

3)      Introduce yourself to family in the room.

4)      Clean your hands.

5)      Hold the baby (if comfortable doing so).

6)      Enjoy it!

7)      Read Psalm 139:13-16.

8)      Pray for the parents.

9)      Plead for the soul of that child.

10)  Be aware of how long you stay (typically less than 20 minutes).

Here is a previous post that explains further a few of these practical tools that you might find helpful.  This kind of ministry can be a great way to get your “feet wet” in going to hospitals, getting comfortable in them, and preparing for those harder hospital visits that are certain to await every pastor going into an older, established church.

Posted in Hospital Visitation

What is an essential message for every modern day pastor?

I have known Mark Dever almost 20 years.  This may be the most important word I have ever heard him publicly give.  Every modern day pastor needs to listen and take it to heart:

Posted in Oversight of Souls, The Pastor's Soul

How does a pastor embrace his own weakness?

New Trench Talk Podcast Episode:

“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

– 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV

Listen as Pastor Brian Croft unpacks this text and applies the principle of weakness to the pastor’s life. Brian shares his experience of his own weakness and the impact this has on his ministry.

Related Resources


Posted in The Pastor's Soul

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