Scot McKnight’s series on asking pastors what they would do differently if they started from the beginning of their ministry again was amazing. Unfortunately this is the last one (here). The bold font is my emphasis.
If I started again, I would prepare the same way; seminary training focusing on the classics of Greek, Hebrew, Church History, Theology and Ethics. I would spend less time on counseling and psychology and more on worship and liturgics.
But if I began again in a church, I would systematically visit every home and family in the church during the first year. I would visit both the oldest and youngest members of the church and just ask to hear their stories. I would get to know other pastors as friends and not competitors. I would try to spend more time listening and less time impressing. I would promise the church only three nights out each week and hold the line, giving my family the evenings I allowed the church to rob. I would laugh more and play jokes on my congregation. I would take myself less seriously and take children much more seriously. I would make sure I knew the names and stories of the old people. I would lead more trips for members, not only for missions, but for learning and for fun. I would learn to ball-room dance with my wife so I could have more fun at weddings and parties
I would continue doing some things I do: reading Christian classics, reading straight through the Bible, avoid breakfast meetings at all costs, instead get to a quiet place early and alone. I would continue to read the New York Times and good secular thinkers.