I have been doing some form of pastoring for almost 30 years, and I have certainly been a sucky pastor on many occasions. So I hope you can learn from my failures and use them too.
1. I was a sucky pastor when I allowed myself to get burned out.
I forgot a very simple fact: If you don’t take care of yourself, you will not be able to care for others. A burned-out leader is a dangerous leader. Please care for yourself emotionally and make sure to do whatever it takes to fill yourself up on a regular basis.
2. I was a sucky pastor when I put church growth ahead of my wife’s wellbeing.
Keeping the accelerator wide open while your wife has to support and love you — while caring for the kids, parents and other church people — is not honoring to her. If she goes down, you will go down too! Care for your bride first, and then care for Jesus’ bride.
3. I was a sucky pastor when I ignored the passions of those I led.
I have rolled over those on our team for the sake of the “vision.” Little did I know that in doing that, I greatly delayed and harmed the vision. We can’t do anything of great value by ourselves, and allowing those with us to lead and operate in their passion will bring the vision closer and faster than you ever imagined.
4. I was a sucky pastor when I forgot the importance of childrens’ ministry.
I don’t know how to talk to kids. Honestly, I love mine (all grown now), but I don’t know how to really interact with kids. It’s just not my thing. When my kids were young, it was easy to put the proper energy and resources toward that ministry, but once they moved on, so did I. I forgot the old adage: “The church that wins the kids, wins the city.” Don’t ever forget that.