The older I get, the more I try to remember the basics.
This is what I appreciate in the pastors I love. These are the qualities I want to see in my life.
A deepening love for the Lord — Nobody should be more amazed by the depth of God’s grace than the pastor. The thing that people need most from a pastor isn’t strategy or charisma. It’s a heart that is alive to the triune God.
A genuine, loving marriage — I remember seeing Jill Briscoe laugh at Stu Briscoe’s jokes. It told me more about him as a man and pastor than if I’d read every book he’d written. Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A ministry committed to the Word — I take 1 Peter 4:11 seriously. If you speak, speak God’s Word. Don’t give us your thoughts or musings, or repackage something you read or heard. Give us God’s Word.
Gratitude and love for people — Pastoring is a privilege. The best pastors I know tell their people how grateful they are for the privilege of serving them. They create sinner-safe zones where there’s no pretending, and people are given safety and time to hear the gospel. They love their people.
No secrets — The best pastors are far from perfect, but they’ve stopped hiding. There are people in their lives who know the worst about them. They are walking in the light, and create a culture of grace because they are experiencing God’s grace in the present tense.
It’s just the basics. Nothing fancy. It’s what I pray will characterise your life and ministry. It’s how I want to live and die.