Ever watched the show Band of Brothers. It’s the story of Easy Company, the Army’s 101st Airborne in World War II. The men worked together in the trenches of war. Some had been there longer and knew what war was. Others hadn’t been there as long. To see the camaraderie these men develop is one that Pastors should have in the midst of ministry warfare.
One thing I have always done in ministry is surround myself with people who are in this with me, and who have been in it longer than me. I have several friends who I’d meet with on a regular basis when I was in youth ministry. As I made that step into Head Pastorate, I decided to surround myself with men who had been in this longer than me.
Our association provides a monthly Pastor’s Fellowship where Pastors get together and, well, fellowship. I was able to find men through that that I could lean on and learn from. I’m very thankful for these men who have taken me under their wing and I would highly advise you do the same if you are in your first years of head pastorate.
1. These men love the Word.
Surround yourself with men who love God’s Word. John Piper was asked once, “If you were 22 again, what would you do different?” He said, “I’d read my Bible every day.” As a new Pastor, find men who love God’s Word, who read God’s Word, who treasure God’s Word. It’s what we live by, what we teach and preach from every week. We must master this Book! Find men who have.
2. These men have battle scars.
These men know what it means to suffer in ministry and what it means to persevere in ministry as well. I want to finish well. I want to surround myself with men who are finishing well. We live in a day where it’s becoming common to see men fall immorally in ministry and lose it all. We live in a day where we see men who are burnt out in ministry and quit. And, sadly, we live in a day where suicide among pastors is increasing due to stress in ministry.
I want to learn from these men how to persevere in ministry. Ministry isn’t a calling to grand things of this world. It’s a call to die and suffer. Ministry brings pain at times. Give me men who have been through that, who are praying for me and encouraging me to continue on when suffering comes.
3. These men love Jesus.
To be in ministry all these years, you have to love Jesus. I surround myself with men who love Jesus, and who make me want to love Jesus more. I have had conversations with men where, when we leave that conversation, I think to myself, “I want that. I want to know and love Jesus like that.” I’ve heard men preach who have been in ministry for the better part of 40 years, who I’m friends with, and you can see they love Jesus.
4. These men love their wives.
To see a marriage succeed after many years in the ministry is a blessing. Ministry can bring such a toll in marriages. I want to surround myself with men who love their wives, who will sacrifice their entire ministry for the sake of their wives. Surround yourself with men who love their wives more than their Churches.
5. These men love the Church.
In order to persevere in ministry, you must have a love for the Church. No matter how sinful and dirty the Church may seem at times, the Pastor must love her. Surround yourself with men who love the Church, who want to see the Church grow in holiness.
Ministry can seem like such a lonely place to be, but if you surround yourself with brothers who are in the trenches with you and have been there longer than you, ministry doesn’t seem as lonely anymore. In fact, it seems like a fight worth fighting when you have a band of brothers.