I wrap up my twentieth year as the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church (Fairview Heights, Illinois) on the final day of June. We have grown every single year from just over 200 to over 2,200 in worship. It has been a good run.
Here are twenty core values that have propelled me to two effective decades in one location:
1. Remember your call. When things get tough, remember why you got into this.
2. Keep your marriage strong. If that is bad, everything is bad.
3. Stay in the Word. Reading the Bible from cover to cover every other year or so is a great discipline.
4. Keep learning. Read. Attend conferences. Get a coach. Keep getting better.
5. Never forget you are in the people business. You can’t just sit in your office and be brilliant all the time. You have to add value to the lives of others.
6. Don’t take things personally. Choosing not to get your feelings hurt is essential.
7. Hold it steady. Remember that God has you, your ministry and your family.
8. Realize you can’t cheat the hours necessary for excellent work. Work smart. Work hard.
9. If God does bless your ministry, don’t get all full of yourself. The second you get thinking you are all that and a bag of communion wafers, you are finished.
10. Keep it real. Just be an authentic human being who loves Jesus that God called to lead. People can not only handle that, they will embrace it.
11. Don’t ignore problems. Address them quickly.
12. Tithe. And give offerings on top of that.
13. Remember that if God called you, you can’t quit. He can release you but you can’t quit.
14. Admit your mistakes. You will make them. Offer forgiveness. Accept forgiveness.
15. Remember your detractors are not your enemies; they are your brothers and sisters in Christ.
16. Decide what a “win” looks like and accumulate as many as possible.
17. Take responsibility for everything. If it is your fault, you can fix it.
18. Take your vacations and your days off. Every single one of them.
19. Remember who signs your paycheck and give them your best time, effort and energy. That would be your local church.
20. Have fun. If you are not having a good time, no one else will be either.
I start year twenty-one on July 1. I can’t help thinking the best is yet to come!