Learning from Sam Storms

I have been a full time pastor for 2 1/2 years. I have learned a lot and continue to learn. Sam Storms has had a big impact on me. His website is a “go to” when I am studying to teach certain theological topics. He has helped shape a significant portion of my theology.

This morning he posted a fantastic new blog post at Gospel Coalition titled:

What I Wish I’d Known: Reflections On Nearly 40 Years of Pastoral Ministry

Here are some my favorite parts, but I encourage you to go read the whole thing.

  •  I wish I’d known about the inevitable frustration that comes when you put your trust in what you think are good reasons why people should remain loyal to your ministry and present in your church. I wish I’d been prepared for the feelings of betrayal and disillusionment that came when people in whom I’d personally invested so much love, time, and energy simply walked away, often with the most insubstantial and flimsiest of excuses.
  • I wish I’d known how deeply and incessantly many (most?) people suffer. Having been raised in a truly functional family in which everyone knew Christ and loved one another, I was largely oblivious to the pain endured by most people who’ve never known that blessing. For too many years I naively assumed that if I wasn’t hurting, neither were they. I wish I’d realized the pulpit isn’t a place to hide from the problems and pain of one’s congregation; it’s a place to address, commiserate with, and apply God’s Word to them.
  •  I wish I’d known how much people’s response to me would affect my wife. For many years I falsely assumed her skin was as thick as mine. Regardless of a woman’s personality, only rarely will she suffer less than him from criticism directed his way.
  •  I wish I’d known how vital it is to understand yourself and to be both realistic and humble regarding what you find. Don’t be afraid to be an introvert or extrovert (or some mix of the two). Be willing to take steps to compensate for your weaknesses by surrounding yourself with people unlike you, who make up for your deficiencies and challenge you in healthy ways to be honest about what you can and cannot do.

It is important for me to learn as much as I can from pastors who are ministering in my context, yet with 40 years of experience. These are important things to know, yet this is the type of stuff you don’t get in seminary.

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