Thirty Lessons From Thirty Years

by Andy Wood on April 7, 2008

in Leadership, Life Currency

Andy 1988Thirty years ago, on the first Sunday of April 1978, I became part of a church pastoral staff for the first time.  (This is me about 10 years later, in 1988.) Yesterday the awesome people I get to do life with every week made a special day even more special by surprising me with a gift clock.

Over the last 30 years, the Lord has been a very faithful teacher, even when I wasn’t being faithful to him.  Here’s a sampling what I have learned, and continue to learn – listed in reverse order of impact.

30.  There is nothing on God’s green earth like a seventh or eighth-grade girl.

29.  To be effective in youth ministry, kids should see you as an advocate, and adults should see you as an authority.  When that gets reversed, it’s time to get out of youth ministry… maybe be a senior pastor.

28.  Age, young or otherwise, does not dictate your effectiveness in ministry.

27.  The truth of God’s word and a love for people transcends culture and location.

26.  Like Jonah, you can’t run from your calling for very long.

25.  Revival is not the same as the results of an event.  An event with virtually no results can be a catalyst for a mighty move of God.  An event with great results may be followed by nothing.

24.  Romance is what you see when you view a prospective ministry from a distance; Reality is a very different view.

23.  In the midst of a loss or the death of a dream, my Father is faithful to love me, lead me, and unfold daily His will and purpose to me.

22. Nobody ever solved a problem by getting to the bottom of it or figuring it all out.

21.  Your vision and God’s direction can change with breathtaking speed.

20. If you have to intimidate, mistreat, or threaten people in order to lead them, you aren’t much of a leader.

19.  Vision, planning, and hard, hard work can produce breathtaking results.

18.  Missed opportunities or past opportunities don’t mean the end of opportunities.

17.  A church can never effectively grow larger unless it does a good job at “growing smaller” through small groups.

16.  Set your heart toward God, then do what your desires are telling you to do.

15. Work from a sense of integrity; one of the best ways to discover your gifts and calling is to identify what you know you aren’t gifted or called to do.

14.   When you can know virtually all there is to know about someone and love them anyway, then you are ready for the ministry.

13. There is power in taking your hands off of something you ambitiously want.

12.  The church is just as called to love God and our “neighbors” as individuals are.  Its strategy of ministry should reflect that.

11. Funerals aren’t as fun, but they have a lot more ministry value than weddings.

10.  Telling God, “I’ve never done that before” is not a valid excuse.

9.  Sin robs and blocks the flow of love in my life.  Repentance uncovers and releases it.

8.  God speaks through the wisdom of people in the Body of Christ; pay attention.

7.  You can never lead beyond your ability to deal with criticism or conflict.

6.  God sometimes leads outside the bounds of conventional wisdom.  When He does, follow.

5.  Don’t take yourself too seriously.

4.  Reaching hurting people can be a major force for evangelism and ministry.

3.  You can never lead beyond the willingness of people to trust you.  But you must prove yourself trustworthy.

2.  Discouragement is spiritual cancer.

1.  Grace works for pastors, too.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Daddy April 7, 2008 at 4:27 pm


Terry Richardson April 8, 2008 at 12:10 pm

That’s good stuff, Andy. Each one could be a sermon, yes? And, it’s not “book learning.” You learn this stuff the hard way . . . God bless you for persevering.

rhettburns April 9, 2008 at 9:43 pm

if i could figure out a way to applaud via a keyboard i would. congratulations on 30 years in pastoral ministry. that kind of longevity is rare and inspiring. i pray that by God’s grace I will minister faithfully for 30+ years. God bless!

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