10 Commandments for Young Pastors


  1. Never miss your personal daily devotions. Meet personally with the Lord every day, because ministry is overflow; and your Bible study for sermon preparation is no substitute for personally closing your door and talking with your Father in secret. You must have the daily refreshment of the Word. The most important thing isn’t your work for the Lord but your walk with the Lord. Include a few moments of Scripture memory each day during your Quiet Time. This will ward off burnout by replenishing the reservoir of the soul (Jeremiah 15:16).


  1. Preach verse-by-verse through Scripture (2 Timothy 2:15). The current fad of typical topical sermons may be good marketing, but it will not sustain a deepening, growing church over the long-haul. Marketing has its place, but its more important to be an expositor than a marketer; and of course, the best marketing occurs when you have a quality product, which is exposition. Preaching through books of the Bible allows God’s Word to unfold as He logically gave it, and the unfolding of God’s Word gives light (Psalm 119:130). Focus on expositional-based sermons with application; not application-based sermon from miscellaneous verses based on your own concoctions. Feed the flock.


  1. Keep the family together during worship services (Nehemiah 8:2-3). Don’t segregate elementary or middle school children from their parents and grandparents during the worship hour. Make sure your sermons are engaging enough for children, who need to hear their pastor.


  1. Focus on the biblical literacy of the congregation. Make sure there is a layer of instructional ministry taking place in the life of your church. Remember that Sunday sermons, even when verse-by-verse, are exhortative by nature and relatively brief compared to the data flooding into our lives from the world. And small group ministries are now primarily relational. Ask yourself—where will my people learn comprehensive theological and biblical truth, such as the doctrine of the Trinity, the inspiration and authority of Scripture, the books of Daniel and Revelation, apologetics, and etc? Every church should be a miniature seminary (a lecture hall of Tyrannus – Acts 19:9), because biblical illiteracy is ruining the long-term health of churches.


  1. Keep your worship contemporary and tilted toward the future. But under no circumstances leave behind some of the great hymns of the faith. Most of today’s music comes and goes like disposable razors. Much of it is high-quality and biblical and exuberant—I love it—but it doesn’t provide people with a lifelong personal canon of worshipful music and it’s very dangerous to be the first generation in the history of the church that abandons 3400 years of hymnody. Include an anchoring hymn each week without fail (Ephesians 5:19).


  1. Always present the Gospel at every opportunity, and continually strive for ways to create catalytic moments when people can make decisions for Christ. Keep the cross central to your ministry (Galatians 6:14), and figure out the best methods for enabling people to indicate a response to the challenge to receive Christ as Savior and Lord (1 Corinthians 14:24-25).


  1. Galvanize yourself against discouragement (Joshua 1:9). Satan uses discouragement more than anything else to rob you of your joy. Memorize the biblical promises about God’s assurance that our work is not in vain, such as 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9; Haggai 2:3-5; 1 Chronicles 28:20; and Isaiah 55:11. Don’t base your morale on statistics, but on the sovereignty of God. Don’t compare yourself with the pastor down the street (John 21:21). Your ministry is unique to you (Ephesians 2:10). Serve the Lord with joy, and keep stoking your enthusiasm. Remember Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men.


  1. Take breaks. Have a life outside your church through hobbies or leisure pursuits. Get away with your spouse for occasional overnight personal holidays. Tuck your children into bed with a Bible verse and prayer. Get enough sleep at night, and restrain your appetite so you don’t get overweight. Work hard, but beware the peril of fatigue (Mark 6:31).


  1. Don’t try to do everything. Be an expositor and let your primary focus be on the exposition of Scripture. Make key visits to the most needy members and prospects, administer with discipline, but delegate everything you can. Only do what only you can do (Acts 6:3-4).


  1. Remember 1 Peter 5: To the elders among you: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.