Owen Strachan, professor of theology at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky, offers these great points of advice to men preparing for ministry:
“Stay close to your family. Focus far more on being an excellent husband and father than anything else. You’d think this advice would be old hat, but I’m just 33 years old and have already seen numerous colleagues and friends fall out of ministry due to infidelity. It takes your breath away. It also makes you realize that you are not far from the same end.
“Luxuriate, exalt, and lose yourself in the life of the mind. Do not make the very common mistake of thinking that pastoral ministry is a retreat from thinking and pondering. It most certainly is not. The American church is in the midst of a theology famine. It needs excellent, soul-feeding preaching that is both theologically rich and boots-on-the-ground practical. See yourself as a small but vital part of solving this major problem. The pastor used to be a thinker. He should be again in our day.
“Preach well and study hard, but make sure you allot a good portion of your week to meeting with your people. You can by no means meet with everyone, so let that be said right up front. But if you lose that instinct, if you find yourself wanting to get away from the sheep, then hit the alarm. Pastoring is people work. It has to be. The pastor is not everyone’s personal discipler in a 1-on-1 sense. Preaching yields tremendous opportunity for discipleship in a group sense. But if a pastor is not doing some counseling and discipleship, something is off. Pastors are not theological resource providers; they are shepherds. If they are not directly shepherding some part of the body each week, I fear that they have transitioned out of biblical pastoral ministry.
“Feel no pressure at all to reinvent the ecclesial wheel. Gorge on the wisdom of the past like a hipster who was barred from their favorite foodie locales for a year and is now released to eat. Concentrate less on being the next Young Gun Pastor Sensation and more on attaching yourself to an ecclesial tradition that is tested by time, faithful to Scripture, and affords you opportunities to partner in the gospel to push the gospel to the ends of the earth.”
(via Am I Called)