What do you wish someone had told you before you went into ministry?

One of my favorite websites on which to spend some time is Ministry Matters.

The site was launched in 2011 by the United Methodist Publishing House but it is definitely not your Father’s Methodist website. It is full of articles, blogs, videos, other resources and discussions of people actively engaged in real ministry in the real world of 2012.  I recommend you bookmark it and check it out for yourself.

Recently, the site had a short 1:58 video clip that asked the question, What do you wish someone had told you before you went into ministry? Now, that is an intriguing question!

The video features the responses of four pastors, only one of whom is the pastor of an established Methodist church in the Nashville suburbs.  The others are a Boomer pastor in South Carolina known for his passion for leading a church planting movement, a Gen X pastor of a creative and contemporary new church in Nashville, and an even younger Millennial Episcopal priest.

Their answers did not include comments like “I wish someone would have told me how hard and lonely ministry can sometimes be”  or “I wish someone would have told me how to lead change in a local congregation” or even “I wish someone would have told me how fulfilling ministry can be.”

Rather, the themes of their responses involved the importance of authentic relationships and a supportive community, the necessity of personal soul care, the priority of being mission focused, and celebrating of the Body of Christ doing the work of the Kingdom.

Here, in their own words, are their responses.

One of the most important things for me is creating an authentic community…finding a group of people that you can be real and be honest with…that you can share your concerns and your frustrations with.  If you are anybody but a pastor and you have really close friends, it is called healthy. If you are a pastor and have really close friends, it is often called a clique. But we have to get beyond that mindset…pastors really need to find a way to develop authentic relationships with other people where they don’t have to feel like they are always on.

Pete Wilson

Pastor and Author


I wish I would have taken more seriously Jesus’ command to make disciples. He says He will build the church if we make disciples. I spent a lot of time trying to build the church. That is His job.

Greg Surratt

Founding Pastor, Seacoast Church

I wish someone had told me to take better care of myself…to deal with self care issues. By the time I was 30, I had pretty much burned out. I was at my second church…and had not learned to make any boundaries of my schedule.

Dr. Martin Thielen

Pastor, Brentwood United Methodist Church

Author of What’s The Least I Can Believe and Still be a Christian?

I wish someone had told me before I became a priest that the ministry I am engaged in is our ministry…it is not just my ministry but our ministry as the body of Christ. God gives us each different tasks and abilities to perform those tasks and when we all come together and share our gifts, we can do wonderful things to bring in God’s Kingdom.

Adam Thomas

Episcopal Priest, Blogger, wherethewind.com

So, what do you wish someone had told you before you went into ministry?


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