In today’s Universal Church environment, one must recognize the fact that “discipleship” is a one-on-one ministry, rather than what happens during corporate convocations.
In comparison to true “discipleship,” what happens in corporate worship is almost insignificant to the mature devotee of Christ. Most services are geared towards helping seekers and babes in Christ to learn how to spiritually crawl or walk. But teaching the few how to live as disciples takes a lot of one-on-one time.
In my case, it took me 20 years to learn that in today’s corporate church environment, it is important for seminary grad pastors (with huge debts like me) to learn how to distinguish between “the job” and true “discipleship.” Mixing the two will absolutely devastate you.
While serving as a Hospice Chaplain, I learned how to make the distinction between ministry as a “job” and ministry as a “spiritual mentor,” but in my case it was too late. I learned that I couldn’t change the deplorable condition of the Church Universal- that I could only work with my immediate circle.
My advice to younger pastors who depend on their professional salaries to raise a family and pay their debts, is to calm down… focus on church ministry as a “chaplaincy,” seek after God and make personal disciples. Focus on the “fish and loaves,” leave the “meat and potatoes” for those who are truly seeking after God.
Be a “witness,” not a “martyr” (in the modern sense of the word). Live the Faith- live life filled with bliss, happiness, joy, peace and encouragement… those are the things that attract people to Christ, not our externalities.
Also, don’t rush sharing too much knowledge at once. It took you decades to learn the basics- don’t volunteer information that people are not ready to receive, but rather learn how to spark questions.
And most importantly… relax, enjoy your spouse, hit the beach. Life is too damn short to waste it by always pressing on the gas. Learn how to ride down hill on neutral… Make lots of love to your spouse-
the day will come when you won’t be able…