1. Happy preachers manage themselves. Too many people are preoccupied with what others might think, how others might act, and what others might do. It is far better to learn to manage yourself.
2. Happy preachers are intentional about who they choose to be with. No matter what the vocation, you can find plenty of miserable people. If you spend most of your time sharing stories of gloom with unhappy, miserable preachers, don’t be surprised if your own attitude becomes soured.
3. Happy preachers understand that being human is more than what they accomplish or what they produce. Being human also includes our relationships, our feelings, and matters of the soul.
4. Happy preachers pay attention to time. They schedule time to do the tasks of their ministry but also take time to laugh, enjoy life, rest, and experience friendships.
5. Happy preachers find their happiness in the Lord and not the visible, tangible results of their ministry. Ministry can be painful, hard, and at times excruciatingly difficult. Yet, our happiness is in Jesus, not in finding the right circumstances for ministry.
6. Happy preachers choose to be happy now instead of waiting for things to get better. I once spent several years thinking that the next thing (whatever that might be) would make me happy. Wrong.
7. Happy preachers pay attention to the narrative they are living out. For example, if I believe the biblical story, that the best is yet to come, this will impact how I feel and what I do. On the other hand, if the narrative is “Ministry and the church are awful and will only get worse,” this will certainly impact how I live.
8. Happy preachers get the focus off themselves. Sometimes we are too focused on how we feel, how we look, how we compare, and how we are perceived. This kind of self-preoccupation is a dead-end street. Far better to focus on whom I am serving and how I might contribute.
9. Happy preachers get out of the shame business. I’m not talking about sin or guilt. Rather, I am talking about the subtle ways some ministers shame other ministers.
“Wow, you still have one worship service? We moved on from that a long time ago.”
“You are in a building program? Oh, I thought your church cared about the poor.”
“You aren’t going to build an addition to your building? Hey, I thought your church really wanted to reach out to the community.”
“You are playing golf today? That must be nice. I haven’t had a day off in weeks.”
10. Happy preachers may complain but their complaint is not about their lot in life. Rather their complaint is over the mistreatment or abuse of others whom the Lord has created.
What else would you add to this list? Are there any other characteristics of happy preachers?