- Go on an overseas mission trip. I didn’t take my first missions trip until several years into my ministry. That means that I really didn’t challenge my church to think much about missions until much later than I should have.
- Find a mentor. I didn’t even know the term “mentor” back then. And, had I known the word, I probably would have given up too easily on finding a mentor if one didn’t respond quickly.
- Travel across my state. Even a day-long road trip could have helped me see that my little world in southwestern Ohio hardly reflected the world—it didn’t even reflect much of my state!
- Take more regular days off. My failure to take days off more than 30 years ago has led to the same problem now. I don’t take off enough time to relax, clear my mind and prepare to go back to the grind.
- Set boundaries for counseling. I assumed my job was to counsel every member until he or she overcome the problem. Consequently, I had no sense of the need to refer people, and I spent far too much time counseling.
- Enlist an accountability partner. I had nobody, so I lived in too much defeat over my sin.
- Engage older pastors. Of the multiple older pastors in my community, I knew only one—and that was because our church wanted to use their church’s baptistery. I missed out because I ignored older, wiser leaders.
- Schedule at least one day per month to fast. I didn’t learn that discipline until a couple of decades into my ministry.
- Exercise regularly. Because I didn’t do it then, I now have to work harder at it to try to stay in shape.
- Read the news every day. This many years later, I now know that an uninformed pastor isn’t the best equipped pastor.
What do you wish you had done when you were a young pastor?
This article originally appeared here.