Lessons for a Young Pastor: Find a Place to Settle

Lessons for a Young Pastor: Find a Place to Settle

Every pastor needs a pastor, especially young pastors.  Timothy had Paul, and for young pastors today we have a wealth of experienced pastors (both past and present) to teach us through books, blogs and talks.

As a young pastor I want to and need to listen and learn from these men.

Here are some lessons I’ve learnt from a number of experienced pastors in the book ‘Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry’.

Here’s some notes from the final letter to pastor called Timothy (a composite character).

Lesson 33: Find a Place to Settle

“Many great preachers have been inseparably associated with the places where they laboured and where, perhaps, they lived as pastors their entire lives.”

In the last letter in Dear Timothy, Geoff Thomas encourages pastors to find a place to settle.

He quotes the three rules that Philips Brooks presented to students:

“First.  Have as few congregations as you can.  Second.  Know your congregation as thoroughly as you can.  Third.  Know your congregation so largely and deeply that in knowing it you shall know humanity.”

There are many benefits that comes from staying one place.

“The benefits of staying in a community for decades are legion.  Many in the congregation are one’s best friends.  Some came to faith through your preaching.  One has baptised some parents and then their children a generation later.  One gets to know the town and how it operates.”

“The temptation having moved to a new church is to preach sermons earlier given in one’s previous pulpit.  That can rarely be done if one is confronting a beloved congregation for many years.”

Thomas also reminds us that “The longer you stay in a church the more resolute you should be in attending ministers’ conferences.”

But when should a minister leave his pulpit to accept another position?

“Let him wait calmly for a call.  If he is restless in his present church will he be happy somewhere else?  Which sensible church would dream of calling the Rev. Rolling Stone – who has never spent longer than a few years in any place?”

“If a preacher does intend to accept a call, it must be evident to all that the new office is a more strategic sphere and that his gifts may be used for the greater benefit of Christ’s church than where he now is.”

“The call of the church itself, accompanied by an enthusiastic vote and the encouragement of many of your respected friends, will carry heavy weight in your decision to go.”

[Taken from Chapter 20: Find a Place to Settle by Geoff Thomas]