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10 Things I Would Have Done Differently

I pastored a normative size church in Indiana for 8 years. It was revitalization work, and by all outward appearances, it was successful. We grew from 50-160. But looking back, there are several things I would have done differently. Here are ten.

 

  1. Value relationships over progress.

I certainly built (and still have) many solid relationships while pastoring. But at times, I was more focused on “building” the church and vision than people.

People>Vision

Sometimes you can do both, but often you’ll have to choose.

 

  1. Take two days off per week.

For some reason, I didn’t count Sunday as a workday, even though I was often working all morning and night.

I worked Sun-Fri for several years. In fact, I remember thinking, I stop work at 4pm on Friday and start up again 8 pm Saturday.

If I could do it over again, I would take every Friday and Saturday off. That’s what I do now, and I love it.

I work hard Sun-Thurs. but I really rest on those two days. Doing this prepares me to work again. I almost burnt out of ministry completely, largely due to fatigue.

 

  1. I wouldn’t put so much pressure on myself.

Results determined my whole life. What was attendance? How many are in groups? What’s the budget? How many volunteers?

It’s exhausting. I am so glad to be free from that. Now, I want to faithful and do things with excellence.

 

  1. I’d say no more often.

I’m a sucker for opportunity. When a new thing presents itself, and appears to be worth my time, I have trouble saying no.

Add on top of that, I felt like I had to produce lots of results. This, combined with working all the time, made me tired.

 

  1. I would be more understanding of people’s feelings.

This is hard for me. I am rational and logical (I think). When people let their emotions rule, it frustrates me. But I need to be more understanding and gracious.

 

  1. I would delegate more.

I will never forget one my seminary professor’s telling me, “Brandon, someone else should make the coffee.”

He was right! I should have also let them open the building, run the technology, buy supplies, etc. I did too much, and that’s on me.

 

  1. I would visit more with people.

I was often too busy doing the work of the ministry to visit with people. But people ARE the ministry. Time with them is what it’s all about.

 

  1. I would read more during “work” hours.

I read a lot for sermon prep. But I rarely read during work hours for personal development.

I don’t know why but I always felt like that should be done on my own time. When I was at work, I needed to produce.

 

  1. I would exercise and eat healthy.

I did not do either during my entire 8 years as lead pastor. The Lord only knows how this affected me and my job.

Today, I do both–and it’s a game changer in how it effects my energy and mood.

 

  1. I would do fewer ministries and focus on excellence.

I alluded to this already, but if I were to do it over again, I’d do less…but better. For years, I wanted volume. Today I want quality.

Let me know if this resonates with you. What would you do differently?

 

I will have a post soon on top ten mistakes I made in my ministry, but it will be in my newsletter. You can sign up for it here. Follow me

@Brsutton23

 

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