The ABCs of Pastoring

By Dennis Wiggs

My four-year-old grandson Aaron was riding home from church with me. As we traveled, Aaron kept replying “Yep!” to every question I asked him. I proceeded to give him a grandfatherly lecture on why he should say “Yes, sir” and “Yes, ma’am” when replying to adults.

He listened intently. Arriving at church, I said, “Aaron, will you remember that you need to show respect by saying, “Yes, ma’am” and “Yes, sir.” Without blinking an eye, he loudly replied, “Yep!”

My grandson heard but he didn’t listen! Sometimes I wonder if that is how young pastors read my articles. With that in mind, I want to put my advice into the simplest terms possible. You might call it the ABCs of pastoring.

A –Always begin the day with the Scriptures and prayer.

B – Be extremely careful when you counsel the opposite sex.

C –Carry a mint in your pocket to place in your mouth after you preach.

D –Don’t flirt! Be devoted to your wife. Write her love notes. Treat her like a queen.

E – Exercise regularly. Walk often and exercise restraint when eating.

F –Find time to date your wife at least once a week.

G – Give kind, optimistic statements to the congregation. Write thank you notes for gifts received.

H – Help your wife around the home, especially when you first move into a new pastorate.

I –Invest wisely for the future. A systematic method of saving is essential.

J – Judge not. Pray faithfully for “problem” church members and trust the Lord for the results.

K – Kill the temptation to be lazy. Check off items in your planning book as they are accomplished.

L –Love your congregation. Shake hands, share a smile, make phone calls, and send cards.

M – Memorize Scripture constantly.

N – Neatly hang up clothes in your closet. Buy quality clothing that you can wear for many years.

O – Open your home to missionaries, evangelists, preachers, and other Christian workers.

P –Place an emphasis on sharing the gospel wherever you go.

Q – Quit bad habits such as chewing fingernails, overeating, or the casual use of euphemisms.

R – Refuse to spread gossip. Defend your fellow pastors. Defend your church members.

S – Share God’s blessing by tithing. Keep a $20 bill in your wallet to help someone in need.

T – Trust the Lord for victory over pastoral problems. Pray long before acting.

U – Unite the congregation around prayer.

V – Visit the hospital with a desire to bless others. Dress professionally.

W – Witness regularly. Pray faithfully for new converts.

X – Expect to stay at your church as long as the Lord allows…frustrations and all.

Y – Yield to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit when preparing to preach.

Z – Zip off letters of commendation to your congregation. Write at least one note of appreciation a week.

About the Writer: Dennis Wiggs retired in 2004 after many years in ministry.

Adapted from Contact magazine, May 2000.