(Thom Rainer is the President of Lifeway Christian Resources, and was a pastor for many years. In a recent article, he shared the seven things he wished he would have done differently in ministry. Wise words:)
1. I would spend more time in the Word and in prayer. I would follow the biblical pattern of the church leaders in Acts 6:4: "But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry."
2. I would give my family more time. No one remembers the church committee meetings I missed. My family still remembers those times I was too busy for them.
3. I would spend more time sharing my faith. Paul told the young pastor Timothy to do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5). Those words apply to all pastors today.
4. I would love the community where I lived more. I would try to live more incarnationally. I would prayerfully seek to see how I could serve the community rather than see it as a population pool of prospects for my church.
5. I would lead the church to focus more on the nations. I would lead in helping our church grasp that missions is more than just an annual offering.
6. I would focus on critics less. Most church members have no idea how many criticisms and "suggestions" a pastor gets each week. It can be overwhelming and distracting. Though I would be willing to listen, I would not obsess about every negative comment that was made about me.
7. I would accept the reality that I can't be omnipresent. So many people and groups want the presence of the pastor. Saying "no" can be difficult, but it can free the pastor to focus on some of the priorities noted above.
[from MMI Weblog]