Joe McKeever on a Veteran Minister’s Regrets

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Joe McKeever is a pastor in New Orleans—but I bet you know him better for his illustrations (the drawing kind of illustrations) that you see in many Christian publications.  He has written many helpful articles on pastoral ministry, of which he has decades of experience.  I came across this article, written on September 25, 2011, called “A Veteran Minister’s Regrets (About His Sermons).”  What a great read.  Here’s an excerpt:

I’m a veteran.

A veteran minister. I received the call to preach in April of 1961, which means we have recently passed the half-century mark for that anniversary. I began pastoring in November of 1962, and was ordained on December 2. I served 6 churches as pastor for 39 years and one as a staff minister for 3. Does this qualify me as a veteran?

"Veteran," at least to me, is a better term than what originally came to mind: "old."

I’m not nearly through preaching, although, best as I can tell, I’ve pastored my last church. And that’s just fine. I do not miss the day-to-day grind of the pastoral ministry at all. If I never attend another deacons meeting, never preside over a monthly church business meeting, and never sit in on a finance committee meeting, it will suit me just fine. The preaching part, I love.

So, as the Lord wills and host pastors continue to issue invitations, I’ll keep preaching wherever He sends me.

The other thing we retired veterans do–in addition to trying to stay active and useful–is to look back and rethink what we did. We reflect on what we wish we had done. Not, hopefully, in a morbid sense. No one wants to do an autopsy on himself, to second-guess every decision he ever made. To do so would fill today with all of yesterday’s pains.

But there is value to thinking of the ministry behind. And wondering what we could have done better.

For the purposes of this article, let’s not make this a Joe-confessional. Let’s raise the question and confine ourselves to: what sermonsmost of us veterans wish we had done differently "way back when."

For what it’s worth, this is the list on my mind today. As always, it’s fine to disagree. But it’s never all right to be unChristlike in the way we disagree.

Read the rest of it here.


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