The following is the continuation of a list I have written regarding what ministers need to know. These are in no particular order in terms of priority. (You can read part 1 here and part two here.)
I have found each one of these to be very important not only to one who
might serve a church in some role of ministry but also to any Christian
in his or her daily ministry.
21. Work to stay aware of both your thinking and feelings. If you are not aware of what seems to be on your mind, you might ask your spouse or co-workers about recurring themes they have noticed in your conversation. Also, you might try journaling. One of the reasons that I have written in a journal for so many years is that often I will not realize what I am thinking or feeling until I write. (A blog such as this probably can serve the same purpose.)
22. Avoid shortcuts. Do not dodge the challenging books or tedious study just because you are out of seminary. Yes, read for fun. Yes, read for inspiration. However, read something to help you think.
23. Learn to laugh at yourself! When people feel comfortable with you, they may begin to tease you. (I am teased, for instance, about the many, many times that I have misplaced my keys.) Don’t allow your insecurities to turn these moments into something awkward.
24. Learn how to function within a system. Often, people who have been a part of a system for many years will not see its dysfunction. Using sarcasm or fussing at them are not the keys to getting them to change. Be a student of the system in which you work. (You might read P. Steinke, E. Friedman, and others on this.)
25. Each weekend, take time to review the previous week. Pray about the previous week and the upcoming week. Review all of your to do lists, your project lists, and your calendar. (David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done, has been very helpful to me in this regard.)
26. Take care of your body. The whole person needs care and preventive maintenance. It is amazing how some of us can be so attentive to our souls and then ignore or even mistreat our bodies. We are whole persons.
27. Express gratitude to people. Thank those who in some way have contributed to your own well being.
28. Develop at least some friends outside your congregation. This is one of the most important things that I have learned in the last twenty years of ministry. These friendships have nurtured and encouraged me in many ways.
29. Beware of sabotage. Edwin Friedman (Generation to Generation) taught that when you are in a dysfunctional system and yet behave as a healthy person, someone will attempt to sabotage you. This is not a reason to be paranoid. It does suggest that this behavior might be expected at some point. (For example, this often happens in churches through passive aggressive behavior.)
30. Pay attention to people. Nothing can surpass the value of being an attentive listener. Far too many of us talk way too much and listen far too little. Begin by showing your genuine interest in another person.
What would you like to add to this list?