4/05/2009

How real-world ministry differs from college life

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What would you add to this grid describing how real-world adult ministry differs from college life?

keith drury

12 comments:

alee said...

One of the biggest differences is in expectation of credibility, by the graduate and by those working with them. Much of this is covered by the topics on the list, however a tweak might be added. In college, in my experience, all you have to do to gain credibility from classmates and profs, is to speak up, sound reasonably intelligent, and possibly produce papers reports, and projects that kind of reveal a knowledge of the subject. It is a very stimulus response kind of environment, at least in the beginning.

In the real world, credibility is a lot harder to come by and really only happens after a few years of experience in the field. (this is especially true in the pastoral field, with shining stars in college often unable to bride the knowledge to relationship gap.) Students today, i am a recent one, are used to immediate recognition of brilliance, a kind of spontaneous or easy crediblity, while those in the real world have to work very hard and very long to gain trust and credibility. I have read that in pastoral ministry, some pastors have to wait for close to 5 years before being credible enough, relational enough, and experienced/trusted enough to even be credible or considered "my pastor."

Dan said...

In my college and seminary experience learning was mostly from books and lectures, etc. In real-world ministry this continues, but observation, reflection and integration of ministry experiences are essential to success. I hated case studies in seminary. Now I see their value.

Finding a way to get honest feedback is important to success, too.

Jamie said...

In college or seminary, you're responsible to know the information for the classes that you've taken (or are taking.)

In ministry, you're expected to know the in depth truths about every section of scripture, have a perspective on every theologian/preacher/teacher/author/current event/pop culture phenomenon, have a current library of ready to go resources for any situation and "good" devotional books for parents, students, grandparents, cousin's dogs... You also are expected to know every detail of every ministry going on in your church whether it has to do with your particular area or not.

In school, the professors place high expectations on you to push you and grow you as a person and a minister. Their expectations (for the most part) are attainable and realistic.

In ministry, most of the time, their expectations are not realistic. There will be some individuals in your ministry realm who do understand what your job entails and what they should expect of you. For the most part, they won't. You have to be prepared to set limits and boundaries for yourself (and communicate them in the appropriate way) and stick to them! Don't be afraid to say "I don't know!"

In school, there's much grace for your words... you're in an environment where everyone knows that you're constantly learning and your thoughts are evolving.

In ministry, you need to say what you mean and mean what you say. Especially in moments of frustration or jest, your words will be taken out of context, repeated to the wrong people and will come back to haunt you when you least expect it. Find someone (another minister, a college friend who lives 500 miles away, a mentor, etc) that you can spill your guts to, bounce ideas off of and be vulnerable with. This makes all the difference in the world!

In college, everything is about tomorrow, in ministry, life is happening right now and you need to be present for it!

All in all, some things are easier, some things are MUCH harder, but when you're in the right ministry in the center of God's will, there is nothing like it!!!

Anonymous said...

school: profs create reading lists
ministry: need to self-discipline reading

school: seemingly unlimited campus resources
ministry: "why doesn't our church have...?"

school: single, discretionary time
ministry: often married, much less free time

some other thoughts:

in college, i was an idealist. i thought everyone wanted to know more about God.

in ministry, i now realize people attend church for many other reasons than knowing God.

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in college, i had what i thought was a busy schedule, but still had significant free time.

in ministry, i'm now married with kids, and free time feels like a distant memory.

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in college, i could eat and eat with little consequence to my waistline.

in ministry there are lots of meals/coffees, and i need to exercise/stay fit more intentionally.

---

in college, i thought big churches were better, and that small churches were backward.

in ministry, i've realized bigger isn't better, just different. and not all small churches are backward.

---

in college, i thought keith drury was a good prof who was a little quirky.

in ministry, i now realize he's a wesleyan gem and genius, and i read him every week.

Chap said...

I fully amen the list created...must reading for every college graduate.

The greatest gift a college graduate can give the local church when entering the ministry is...

1. Acknowledge that you come with a youthful idealism that most often won't work.

2. Find 1 or 2 experienced/trusted/competent professionals to collaborate with and when tempted to go with your idealistic program--defer to their input(90% of the time).

3. Before you enter ministry--have you fully dealt with your dysfunction.
a. Are mom or dad still to blame for most of your insecurities?
b. Do you see the church as a warm womb to escape your fear of dealing with the real world?
c. Have you really read Corinthians or Ephesians?

I have many more--just some thoughts.

Chap said...

oops one more that I can't believe I forgot...

Learn to say I'm sorry, I was wrong.

Ryan Schmitz said...

Kind of like 'Time Off', but the Holiday thing was huge:

College Life - Holidays are spent relaxing with family

Adult Life - You are busiest on the Holiday

Speakers/Professors:

College Life - Great speakers/professors that really feed and challenge students

Adult Life - Not everyone pastor can convey that a great professor or amazing chapel speaker

Keith Drury said...

nks all for the comments--my students will appreciate you help this Tuesday.

And thanks to any others who post additional thoughts for us to read in future semesters.

Keith

Christy said...

The biggest change I remember feeling the first couple years after graduation, was that there was never a FINAL EXAM. Meaning...the world didn't wrap up neatly every 3 months. I found that projects hung on and on and on....unless I disciplined myself to set my own "final exam" deadline.

Sometimes I still miss having that sense of the whole slate being wiped clean every 3 months. :)

Anonymous said...

Normally, I abhore anonymous comments but would like to openly share for the sake of any young readers getting ready to start ministry or even thinking about it. Some of my biggest shocks were:

Gossip: you will be bombarded by well-meaning people who have heard from other "well-meaning" people about complaints and bring them to your attention without giving you names so you can resolve conflict.

Politics: the double-talk, lip service, and lying that is used to preserve "peace"- false though it may be.

Lack of Privacy: you personal is your professional life and free for anyone and everyone to speculate, talk about, and editorialize on.

Spousal Support (or lack thereof): unlike in the "secular" world there is no one (or VERY few) for your spouse to vent to, ask opinions of, or talk through issues with because it will, inevitably, be leaked into the church as a whole.

JOEL said...

Changes to expect leaving College and entering Adult Life…
especially entering church ministry.
By Gradating senior ’09 Joel Liechty. Based on emails from recent IWU graduates who are now in ministry 1) After college it can be real lonely without your constant support of friends and all of the activities that go on. I recommend getting involved in a young adult program or another activity right away.
2) Another change was finances. Budget are a pain to stick to but it is so worth it later on. I took a Financial Peace class by Dave Ramsey and it was very motivating and helpful.
3) Be prepared to deal with a lot of different kind of people! I deal with situations all the time whether it’s with people in the community or even the staff I work with. The ability to work well with other is important.
4) You can finally start making money instead of paying for school. It is so nice to get into a routine and begin to settle into a normal everyday life. Life outside of college has more responsibilities but is definitely better.
5) As I started out in the adult life, I realized that all the sudden I wasn't surrounded by people my age. I work with youth and kids and spend a lot of my time consumed with those guys, but I realize and cherish the time I get to spend with others my age and at the same point in life.
6) There are many people and even systems at college that aid you to be your very best. Professors encourage and help you see your potential. When I first got out of school that was something I had to do. I had to create my own support system in the new place I was at. It is not the easiest thing but thankfully even though I am not close (proximity) to any of my family or friends from college, they are a vital part of what I do each day because they lift me up in prayer and even send card.
7) You no longer set your schedule. You have to be to work at a certain time, have meetings at a certain time, you have deadlines that are not just "papers" or "projects for coach's class" :).
8) Your social life is out the door compared to college. It’s harder to make new friends, and even harder to keep in touch with all of your great friends from college…because like you they are more than likely spread all across the country! However, it has been great to be able to still be in contact with them and get together as much as possible.
9) Not having Baldwin just plain stinks. – I know you probably are sick of Baldwin by now, but living on your own and having to cook every single meal for your self just get’s plain old …
10) money actually becomes a reality. In college I really didn't have any savings, and whatever cash I had I could spend really without thinking about it. I've had to learn the value of a dollar, and to hoard the ones that I don't need to spend elsewhere.
11) you're not forced to spend time with people not your age. In high school and college all of your friends are your age, adults spend time with people of all ages. at the beginning of adulthood, they've all been there done that!
12) you have to make intentional friendships. IWU is an easy place to make friends, once you leave (and even if you go to seminary) making friends isn't easy.
13) You should be a life long learner, but you are no longer a student when you enter adult life and people expect you to be able to do the things they ask you to do and they aren't asking you to do things to teach you things. They ask you because those things really need done. You will move from a culture that is serving you to one that you are called to serve.
14) It will be very easy for your spiritual life and your relationship with Christ to slip at first because you don't have the constant influence for profs, speakers, roommates and RA's around you. You have to step up and take on full responsibility for your own faith at this point and it can be hard if you aren't intentional from the start.
15) Finally, be ready to find out that you aren't as prepared as you think you are. Try very hard to get there, but don't fake it. Be willing to admit that you aren't sure what comes next when people ask.
16) The transition from having your best friends around you 24/7 to being either isolated or living around only a few people will be difficult at first. I would suggest that you try to find time NOW to take time alone away from everyone. Otherwise, those first few months may be the hardest to handle, as you won't be used to dealing with yourself, which can be frustrating, and it can be amazing.
17) Food is not free! After 4 years of swiping a card for your meals, it's a serious reality check that first time you go to the supermarket. I think I dropped $250 my first trip after college. Since then, I have learned to cook cheap meals that are also healthy. Find ways now to learn to cook basic chicken and rice meals, hamburger helper, and pasta meals. This will save you time and money, which are both precious.
18) Try new things. As a student at IWU, life can become a schedule. Classes, homework, meals, etc. all of these become another part of a scheduled life. This all ends at graduation. Take the time to try new things, like exploring the surroundings you move to, and checking out other churches, even seeing a rated-R movie (shocking! I know. haha). Don't get stuck letting your entire life become a schedule of work, dinner, TV, reading, bed, rinse and repeat. Break out of the routine, and see parts of the area around you that you might otherwise miss.
19) You're a LONER! Although some of you are already married or about to be, and others of you will be moving somewhere near family or friends, I still believe that it is unavoidable to feel like a LONER after college! Even if you do have people around you that you are familiar with, there still is a significant decline in the amount of "people time" you engage in during the day/week. Just know that you may feel like a loner, but every one else does too!
20) More time=More Responsibility: Being done with school means NO MORE HOMEWORK! WOO HOO! BUT, with that comes the fact that you're days are not longer ordered for you and planned out by the educational system and pressures of academia, so you may have more time, but it also means that you have more responsibility. You are now responsible to figure out what you should do with your time, and when you should do it! This freedom can be liberating, but it also means that you can't just sit around and play video games all day and expect you're work to get done! So enjoy the breather from homework, but remember just because no one is forcing you to produce, doesn't mean that you don't have to produce anything, it's just on your head now if you don't!
21) INTEGRITY! No one is going to tell you how to live your life any more. There are not curfews, restrictions, and expectations like there are at IWU. So even though you've been coddled by a protective shield of legalism for the past 4 years, I hope you were able to establish healthy boundaries in your life that you can maintain even when you're outside of the "system." The MAN isn't looking over your shoulder as much any more, but as a pastor, you still NEED integrity, actually you probably need MORE!
22) You are in charge of you. No matter what church you go to, what your job description is, you are the one responsible for your life. You're probably covering lots of this in church leadership, so pay attention. You manage your money (both income and ministry budget), your time (getting to bed at a decent hour, being on time, keeping commitments, scheduling meetings, etc.), and your own spiritual life (time with God, finding an accountability partner, and balancing ministry with your own needs). You rarely find people intentionally pouring into you, so you need to ask them to. One of the most helpful tools I've found for dealing with personal finances has been Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. If you want to be an example (and you should be) to your congregation on how to manage money in today's economy by staying out of debt (you laugh because of your college bill), this is the course to take.
23) Friends may be few and far between. I'm at a church of 225 with plenty of people in their 20s at my stage of life, and I still feel like I have no really close friends. We're even in a small group together. It's very easy to lose contact with people from IWU after graduation. Facebook doesn't cut it. You have to be intentional about keeping 1-2 close friends you can call or drive a few hours to meet for lunch with. I found that other pastors in my district (I'm in the Wesleyan Church) are some of my best friends. It is essential that you keep learning. For me, this means reading and learning from mentors. Other pastors are generally the best people to hear about a new book or website, so use them to your advantage. Create a network of people to go to with questions, and be someone who shares what you've learned with others.
24) You are still you. Maybe this doesn't fit here, but I'm putting it here anyway. There is no magical transition to becoming a better person, a more devoted follower of Jesus after college. Becoming a full-time pastor doesn't automatically change you. The habits (both good and bad) that you are developing in college stay with you. I think Andy Stanley has a new book out (The Principle of the Path) that addresses this gap between our best intentions and reality. So start being the person/pastor you want to be NOW instead of waiting, because it won't happen.
25) be ready to be lonely. I know that sounds awful but this was a part of my new life that I had not anticipated. At IWU you are surrounded by friends and support. In the "real" world you have to pursue friendships and allow yourself to befriend whoever God brings your way. Spiritual intimacy is also more difficult outside IWU, find community!!!
26) You will, hopefully, be treated as an adult and a peer to the older people around you. You likely will not feel like a peer, but embrace that by behaving and treating others like you are the adult that you are! Ask questions when you need to, but share your thoughts and insights confidently.
27) Money...Money...Money
28) Responsibility takes on a whole new meaning, you will no longer have others making meals for you if you know what I mean.
29) You will leave a place that is full of friends and mentors at every turn and enter into a world that can be very lonely, so find friends where ever you go.
30) More Responsibility
31) Life is Busier
32) Balancing work, family friends
33) You will have a strong temptation to stop learning, studying, growing, etc. Be ready for this and do not take for granted the resources you have available now (books and professors).
34) Accountability won't always be 5-10 feet away. Find a mentor/accountability partner as soon as possible. I grow weary of hearing friends and pastors who fall (and fail) because they thought they could do ministry on their own.
35) If you want to make it in ministry, start out by not letting yourself be deceived. Not everyone in the church is going to like you (regardless of what you do or don't do). Always be reminded of who you are serving- Jesus Christ.
36) FREEBIE... learn what submission to a senior pastor is all about. When he/she asks you to do something, do it. Don't argue. If they ask for your opinion or thoughts, feel free to give them respectfully. If they don't ask, don't assume they want to know. The best book I have ever read on this is Under Cover by John Bevere. If you don't learn how to submit to leadership, you won't last in ministry.
37) I know you have already talked about this in class, but budget and finances. Student loans don't wait for you to have income and credit cards can be ruthless.
38) The second change is you need to have a back-up plan for entering into the working world in addition to ministry. College didn't talk much about the subject, but typically it takes time to get a secure position in a good church. It took us about 18-20 months and one church that hired us, but refused to work with us and closed behind our backs, before we arrived to where we are right now.
39) Kids change everything, you will not have the energy to send out emails at 1:30 am anymore. They are a tremendous blessing and joy, but they really take it out of you. Sometimes you feel like its finals week, week after week, even though your out of school.
40) getting something done on time is often more important than having it perfect a few days late. You HAVE to have stuff for Sunday, even if it's not as good as you want.
41) Everything is more expensive, and time consuming. You are in charge of your meals, and working out and all the rest.
42) You will need be more accountable for you own time and decisions. You won't have a syllabus anymore...and going into a church situation, you cannot necessarily share openly with members of the congregation. You will probably not have as many close friends that are available across the hall or street. You will feel a little bit alone for a few months until you adjust.
43) You can't be your college-self in ministry. The pranks you did in college DO NOT cut it in the real world. Some of my fellow youth pastors have gotten fired because of this.
44) You are in charge of you. You must make your own decisions about how you will use your time. Lead yourself wisely if you plan on leading others.
45) It's not dumb to ask questions. If you don't know it, ask it!
46) Once you leave IWU, you'll have to work a lot harder at creating a sense of community.
47) Continue to ask lots of questions, even when you think you know the answers.
48) Responsibility: You are in charge of yourself now. Mommy and daddy are not there to tell you what to do and when to do it. You must take responsibility for yourself and be disciplined. No excuses work on employers...BE RESPONSIBLE!!!!!
49) Also, be ready to be alone. I know I'm the 100th person to tell you this, but it is so true. Friends and family are not around so you must find other ways to get fellowship, BUT learn to be "OK" by yourself.
50) Expect life to slow down… it doesn’t
51) People watch you closely. Live a life pleasing to God.
52) Less Community
53) High Expectations – you don’t get down days
54) Cost of living goes up
55) Less Recognition
56) You have to pursue your own spiritual growth opportunities. They aren’t handed to you any more.
57) Hard to find community vs. IWU
58) Time management – set goals or you’ll get nothing down.
59) Must be intentional to maintain relationships
60) Less Opportunity with opposite sex
61) You are forced to be responsible
62) You’re a loner, decline in significant people time
63) Connections – use them
64) You have to be intentional with relationships
65) Readjusting to life at home with parents
66) Get an accountability/ prayer partner and/r mentor
67) Create a budget – adult life is expensive
68) No longer equipped but equipping.
69) Heavy work load – continuous work load
70) Integrity – no one is looking over your shoulder
71) Midnight is later than you think.
72) Expect more responsibility, less accountability.
73) Don’t become a slacker – When you have down time don’t get in the habit of doing nothing. Find a hobby and treat it like a real job.
74) You have to be intentional about finding community
75) You will have to meet expectations
76) No curriculum to follow
77) Partisanship – people don’t necessarily want the best for you when they give you advice
78) Hanging out with friends becomes more of a challenge
79) Take seminary on campus – keeps you learning

Preparing for Church Ministry

1) I working as a missionary on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, not technically at a church, but there are many things God has taught me. I work with local churches here as well as other organizations. I think the thing that you really need to be ready for is to be taught something different from how you were trained. Although IWU is a great education they can't completely prepare you for all the different situations. Be humble in every situation! Although you just graduated and have great training, there are many people that you can learn from. Don't think you have it all figured out.
2) I think you have to be ready to face yourself and your fears. I went back and forth between thinking I knew what I was doing, to at times wondering if I even had it in me to be doing what I was doing and feeling very inadequate. It was my worst fear to start into a new place and not fulfill the purpose I had there because I lacked the abilities. Our calling does not come from the strength we have, but rather from God, who is strong enough, smart enough, and will never let us down. We have to remember why we do what we do, and not get so consumed with all the details to block that out.
3) I work for a “para church” ministry – I work for the United Methodist Church as the Director of Marketing for Camping Ministries for the NY conference. So it has a few different dynamics than working in the day to day life of a church. But here are a few thoughts:
4) Church leadership are not as forgiving in some cases as your professors when deadlines are not met or if you are “sick”. There expectations of you are quite high (although Coach has pretty high expectations of his students.)
5) Even though you are giving 110%, they always seem to want to give you more than you can handle….sometimes you just have to learn to say “no”.
6) It’s important to have good communication with your supervisor, to be able to make sure you both are on the same page.
7) no more classes! your life isn't scheduled by a syllabus (unless you go to seminary). there is a freeing feeling to the first time school starts up, and you don't have to go in.
8) there is freedom to live how you want to. if you want something to be a part of your life, you do it, if not you don't. its your life.
9) you get e-mails from people taking classes from Keith Drury. and remember all the ways that life proves him right. its more of an ironic thing about life. "how'd he know that?!?" trust me...soak your time in that class up, even if he challenges you to do things you think would be difficult.
10) Remember that this church belongs to first to God. And all the great ideas you have may still be great but it isn't necessarily what He wants for that congregation.
11) Remember that the people at the church, even the ones that seem to be standing in the way of everything, have been part of the church longer than you and it should never turn into you vs. them. You are on their team now so learn to work together and since you are the new guy that will mean you need to give more than them. You aren't going to win by yourself, ministry is a team sport.
12) John Wesleyan gave this direction to people like you.
John Wesley’s “Rules of a Helper” have perhaps never been excelled as counsel to ministers, whether young or old. These “Rules” are, in part, as follows:
(1) Be diligent. Never be unemployed a moment, never be triflingly employed, never while away time; spend no more time at any place than is strictly necessary.
(2) Be serious. Let your motto be, “Holiness unto the Lord.” Avoid all lightness, jesting and foolish talking.
(3) Believe evil of no one without good evidence; unless you see it done, take heed how you credit it. Put the best construction on everything.
The judge is always supposed to be on the prisoner’s side.
(4) Speak evil of no one, else your word especially would eat as doth a canker. Keep your thoughts within your own breast till you come to the person concerned.
(5) Tell every one under your care what you think wrong in his conduct and temper, and that lovingly and plainly as soon as may be: else it will fester in your heart. Make all haste to cast the fire out of your bosom.
(6) Avoid all affectation. A preacher of the gospel is the servant of all.
(7) Be ashamed of nothing but sin. Let your industry, as well as your humility, commend itself to all.
(8) Be punctual: do everything exactly at the time.
(9) Do not mend the rules, but keep them; not for wrath but for conscience’ sake.
(10) You have nothing to do but to save souls; therefore spend and be spent in this work; and go always not only to those that desire you, but to those who need you most.
13) You probably won't see eye to eye with everyone there. At IWU, everyone gets along, for the most part. Teachers love your ideas, and you love theirs. At work, not so much. YOU are the rookie, THE are the pros. There will be times that you will disagree, and my advice, keep your trap shut for the first few months. Sounds horrible and degrading, I know, but a few months of humility and nodding in agreement will probably go a long way in your career and your impact at that church.
14) You will experience stress. REAL stress. I know the stress you have now, deadlines for papers because you got caught up in Halo 2 tourneys and all-night LOST marathons. Maybe even a final or two that is really worrying you. These will seem like blessings compared to the financial strains that a church will be going through, finding a way to counsel the teen who got pregnant before graduating high school, and the adults who can't stand the music you have been playing at worship last week. I'm not saying this to scare you...well, yeah I am actually. Right now you are learning terms, ideas, and programs. Out there, it's all up for grabs, and you have to be able to handle the stress and strain, because the deeper you dig in my friend, the sweeter the bliss when you see God work, and you realize that this is exactly what He called you to. You can read 100 books of being a parent, but it isn't until you hold that child for the first time that you realize what kind of deep stuff you're in, and you don't want to be anywhere else. Trust me, the feeling is amazing.
15) Who are you again? While in school you are able to spend 4 years getting to know your peers and professors. Through this relationship building, there is a sense that you've established a name/reputation with those around you. (hopefully it's a good one)! With that said, when you graduate and go into the church, all of that time spent is lost, and now you have a blank slate. For some of you this blank slate can be a good thing (especially if you didn't have the best reputation in college), but for others of you, this may be really hard. You're name doesn't mean anything to a new church body. They do not know how scholarly you are, or that you got A's on all of you Drury books, or that you can type a 10 page paper in an hour... no one knows this, or cares for that matter. So, humble yourself, step into this new season of life, and take the time to establish relationships before you go around telling people what a big deal you were in college!
16) Theory into Practice: What a luxury it is to sit around all day with peers discussing theology, biblical principles, and theories for how to do great ministry... and then after a long day of discussing and theorizing, you go to your nice, almost brand new dorm room and sit at your Mac laptop to write a paper about YOUR ideas concerning effective ministry! Well, enjoy that now! First of all, there is not enough time in the church to sit around and theorize, it is time to put your money where your mouth is and put theory into practice. We are not talking about theoretical people and problems any more, we are dealing with REAL LIFE, and that means we need to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk!
17) Secondly, when you're the new guy/gal on staff (and this goes along with the previous point) it is likely that people will not trust your opinion or theories. So do not storm into a church and tell them all of the things you learned in school, and how you need to change their church, instead slow down, get acclimated and take the time to see how putting theory into practice really plays out around you, and then humbly begin to tackle projects!
18) You're 22 and they're not. I'm a staff pastor of discipleship, and I give leadership to our children's ministry, youth ministry, adult small groups and missions/local outreach. I'm almost 25, but many of the people I give leadership to are in their 40s and beyond. They expect me to be competent and to relate to them and their children on their level. You'll still be learning how to be a pastor, and people will expect you to have it down. On the flip side, I also have a lead pastor who is great at leading me, and you may have this too.
19) People are crazy busy (including you.) I'm amazed at how the people at my church stretch themselves and their families in so many different directions. It's like "no" is a four-letter word. Church may or may not be at the top of their priority list, and they definitely cannot drop everything and come to a meeting or service like you can at IWU. Communication often and in advance is key. And leading by example in saying "no" to certain things is also key.
20) You WILL fail. I hate failure, and I wasn't used to it while in high school or college. This is my second church. My first two years of ministry were at a tiny church of 25 elderly people. I was called to restart (plant a church in a dying church) this church, and it died. It closed, and I had to deal with why God would call me to a place just to see it fail. Looking back I see why God called me there, but in the moment, failure was hard. Having good friends/other pastors/a great spouse there for encouragement along the way is important. And not to be too depressing...you will succeed as well. God will use you in ways you can't imagine now.
21) Doing things you didn't take classes for in college. I was a CM major...never took a youth ministry class. Now even though I'm not a youth pastor, I give leadership to our youth group and do a majority of the speaking on Wednesday nights. Take electives in different areas of ministry while you can. I wish I had.
22) be proactive! In college (and most of your life leading up to it) you have been told what you need to do, by when. You are now in charge of your ministry and need to find how God would have you fill your days. You are accountable to your church for your time but, for the most part, you are only seen by a few people throughout the week.
23) Allow God to propel you toward the people and situations that you need to be involved with.
24) Be ready to use volunteers or find some to use! You will need to connect with parents and other volunteers and help them buy into your ministry by giving them ownership. If you fail to invite others in you will soon find yourself trying to disciple kids on your own, which isn't health for you or the church. Be ready to think creatively about how to get adults around your youth! Everyone will be grateful for it!
25) In you practicums you have had a taste of whats to come, and I mean a taste. you will do many things that you don't want to or didn't think would be in you "job description", but don't let it discourage you, because those are the times that God will show up the most.
26) Be smart with your time...at times you will feel like you have none to give and times when you feel your twiddling your thumbs. balance your time and love God and the people that God has entrusted to your spiritual guidance.
27) People can drive you nuts, BUT...that's why your there help them see Christ in you and in them.
28) Ministry is pass fail
29) you resolve Conflict
30) Ministry never stops, often happens outside scheduled hours
31) listen intently to and remember the words of COACH
32) Apparently I already answered this question, as I assumed that since you are in a Drury class, it was in regards to ministry anyway. But here's a couple more.
33) Remember that most of the people you work with in a church have never been to college for ministry, theology, etc. Most of them don't read their newspaper let alone a Bible. When you get ready to teach your 4-week series on the Trinity, you better use real life examples and "practical" theology or the only thing you're going to give your congregation members is a nap. Information is not the same as transformation.
34) Just because your congregation does not know much about theology is no excuse for you to stop learning on your own time. Refer back to #1 on the first list.
35) FREEBIE... Don't think that "growing your congregation" (spiritually) is ONLY your job. It is your place to plant the seed. HIS job is to water and make the seed grow. That may seem like common sense to you now, but when you're in the trenches, it will be difficult to remember
36) Every church has different traditions, expectations, standards, ideas. Various aspects of what you study will be of advantage based on the church you are serving. Then when you go to a new church you have to draw upon other knowledge, skills, materials, etc.
37) We never expected to go to seminary, as we were following the Wesleyan track, until we found ourselves now serving in the UMC. Now ordination requires an MDiv. Fortunately online classes are possible, but the seminaries that offer them and the seminaries accepted by the denomination are limited.
38) One of the things the UMC as a whole has realized is that with the dwindling numbers in church attendance, churches are closing at a faster rate than the pastors are retiring. Because the UMC is required to give an ordained pastor a placement (that used to meet certain criteria) other pastors changing churches to meet a higher salary, take care of family, etc. will probably be taking a step down in the near future coming in the next church year.
39) You will be let down by other pastors that you work with in the community. Sometimes the pastors show up to a community service, sometimes they don't. We had a community Lent service Sunday evening, it was our first one. Nobody showed up. How were we supposed to answer questions that only they knew the answers to?
40) Be ready for your plans not to work. Sometimes they do, most the time they don't.
41) No matter how disrespectful, or how many times they call you a baby, try to listen for the good advice of the older generations. The more questions you ask them, the less they will point out your age and inexperience, and the less they try to "humble" you.
42) Decide now how important your family will be compared to ministry. Will you make a point to date your wife? What if outside family needs you? I encourage you to do a Bible study of where Jesus put his earthly family. This last year, My husband's dad ran into some real hard problems. We had to give up work time and a lot of money to take care of him. Now he is living with us. I'm also pregnant with our second child and we are going to have to make some decisions about childcare, seminary, and church, and decide what we can handle, and what may need to wait. I may have to give up being a pastor for awhile to raise my children.
43) The members of your congregation will not be your best friends and you need to be careful what you confide in them. You need some friends outside of your church.
44) Since you are young, there will undoubtedly be that older man or woman in the congregation who will treat your more like a grandchild than a pastor. And there will be those that don't respect you because of you age/lack of experience.
45) If you are the people-pleasing type, you will have a hard time. You cannot make everyone happy.
46) People will gossip about you and slander you at the church.
47) You submit to your senior pastor's authority, so make sure your senior pastor is one that you can work under and learn from. You must be firmly who you are though. That's why it's important to be yourself and not compromise your heart or theology. If you don't like the senior pastor, don't work there.
48) Staff dynamics can be frustrating (or great). You could possibly end up working with people you don't see eye to eye with, but you still have to work together and support one another.
49) Be prepared to have your spirit trounced on (metaphorically, of course), but hang in there. What I mean is, coming out of IWU you might have a lot of fresh ideas, passions, and energies. On the other hand, a lot of churches are firmly grounded in their ways and resist change. But the Church desperately needs passionate, committed folks- so hang in there. (It's worth it).
50) To go along with that, find the people in the church that will listen to you, support you, and be honest with you. (The ones that will tell you what you need to hear, even if it isn't what you want to hear).
51) Humility is the key. You have not been in ministry for years and you DO NOT know everything. There will be some people who will look to you for "Pastoral" guidance, and then there will be others who will remind you that you are still a kid, and that they have been at this church longer than you have been alive. Be OK with not knowing all the answer. Pray that God will give you guidance and discernment to know when to speak up and when to SHUT UP!!! BE HUMBLE!!!! Better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove everyone right----I don't remember who said this...but it works for me :)
52) Also, you need to be disciplined. I’m not kidding!!!!!! You need to be ready to set some daily success rituals. This is the normal routine that you keep everyday to make sure that you get done what needs to get done. Make a to-do list and stick to it. I could teach for weeks on how important these daily success rituals are. If you have no discipline in your personal life…you will not have any discipline in your ministry life! Get a plan and stick to it.
53) ON Call Weekends – some churches have on call weekends for pastors needed at a hospital.
54) Humility – some look to you for pastoral guidance, some say you’re still a kid.
55) You’re in charge. Learn to lead
56) It is hard to get people motivated, especially volunteers.
57) The fruit of ministry takes time; be patient
58) Expect to go beyond your job description
59) Become an initiator Now
60) No Syllabi – you may make your own.
61) If you work on Sunday, you have to be intentional about your spiritual life.
62) Too many opinions
63) Know how to make good boundaries
64) Pen. Who holds it? You/God?
65) Use course work to compliment studies for sermon/lesson.
66) Take Risks
67) Give 100% and learn to say No
68) College does not prepare you for real ministry.
69) There may be moments when you just don’t know what to do. No one is there telling you what to do everyday. You must be self-motivated!
70) Tie. Lots to do = less for yourself. People are difficult.
71) Ministry is Hard – in classes you learn theory, but will the theory work in the real world.
72) Everything takes longer
73) Expect to be the expert
74) Older people look to you for guidance
75) Who are you? Starting over with a blank slate. People in church don’t know you.
76) Must be flexible
77) Always working – Always on call and always representing the church
78) You shift from student to expert
79) Guidance is hard to find
80) Parishioners Aren’t ministry –minded like all your classmates
81) Learn to set boundaries on time spent at work
82) Jack of all trades
83) You are pushed more to teaching than learning. TAWG is harder to come by.

I Can Look forward to…
1) One thing I have really enjoyed is actually getting out here and putting what I had learned and practiced into actual life. It is exciting to work on the mission field and to see God at work in mighty ways. Training becomes real life....the good, the bad, and the ugly.
2) There are not a bunch of papers to write, tests to take, or homework to do (technically). There are many things that you do that resemble these in some way but you know the exact benefit of doing it. There are also many things you just learn hands on as you learn to minister better. You don't stop learning it is just merely your drive to learn more that will push you, not a teacher or professor telling you your homework.
3) You’ll meet the girl of your dreams and get married (well that’s what I did)
4) You are able to take what you have learned in your college career and apply the gifts and talents that the Lord has provided you to go out and do ministry beyond Marion.
5) no more classes! your life isn't scheduled by a syllabus (unless you go to seminary). there is a freeing feeling to the first time school starts up, and you don't have to go in.
6) there is freedom to live how you want to. if you want something to be a part of your life, you do it, if not you don't. its your life.
7) you get e-mails from people taking classes from Keith Drury. and remember all the ways that life proves him right. its more of an ironic thing about life. "how'd he know that?!?" trust me...soak your time in that class up, even if he challenges you to do things you think would be difficult.
8) You get to start using all the stuff that they've been pouring into you for the last 4 years.
9) One day someone is going to call you "Pastor" and it is going to feel incredible because you realize it has nothing to do with the status and position or the title that other people gives you, but you will realize that God picked you to take care of the most important thing to Him in all of creation, His Church.
10) Seeing lives change as you are will to reach done to the mud puddles you find people living in and start to help them clean themselves off.
11) Freedom. You are in control. No more attendance, no more rules, no more nothing. This can be scary, but it's also liberating. Set boundaries for yourself. Have a "bed-time", as this will help you in your career.
12) The challenge. I love a good challenge. Everything after college is hard, buddy. Finances, relationships, ministry, heck even laundry haha. Rise up to it, my friend. Don't get discouraged. And never NEVER be afraid to keep learning. A degree does not mean you know it all, or even anything yet. Find a mentor. Mentor someone else. And be challenged. Be stretched.
13) FREEDOM! Even though there is a sense of responsibility that comes with more free time and less rules ... just take some time after college to BASK in the world of NO HOMEWORK! I cannot tell you how much I love this!!! Everyday, seriously EVERYDAY, I think about how happy I am that I am not doing homework!!! So make sure you celebrate that!!
14) Reading for FUN! Who would have thought that reading was fun!?!? Well, it did not take long (maybe a week) after graduation for me to remember how much I enjoy reading when I am choosing the material! Even though you're done with school, make sure to keep learning, and reading and enjoy being a student, even if you're picking the material!
15) A fresh start: it's so fun to sluff off all the junk from the past four years that I'm not proud of, and to take the time to become a whole person again. I have a fresh start in a fresh season and I cannot tell you how liberating it is! This time has been awesome to reconnect with God and refresh that relationship in new ways, and it also has been a fresh start to my marriage and personal life, even though I am still in the same town and same house, I've found so many ways to recreate my life in Marion! Enjoy this time to freshen up all areas of you life!
16) The way your church takes care of you. I've found both churches to take care of me and my wife financially (the district helped at the first church). Here I get some money for a cell phone, and the church put money toward a new laptop when I first came. This may not be the case at every church you go to, but I've found that churches really show how much they care for pastors.
17) The challenges of your context. Ministry is always changing and it's different in each context. For instance, right now one of my challenges is to create a separate ministry for 5th and 6th grade students on Sunday mornings. Working with volunteers, looking at curriculum, finding/training a leader, talking to parents, and listening to God for direction...it's great. I've found that consistent evaluation by myself and key volunteers helps us determine our strengths and weaknesses, and helps us find areas for tweaking or for vast improvement.
18) Seeing fruit. I'm talking about seeing people make steps to follow Christ in ways they hadn't before. This may be seeing someone get baptized, seeing someone you've invited to church come for the first time, or seeing God rearrange priorities in a person's life. Knowing that God used you when He could have used someone else is amazing. The challenge is to look for fruit beyond dollars and numbers.
19) Your job. I never thought I'd get my "dream job" this early in ministry. But I couldn't ask for a better church. God used my experiences in college and at my first church to prepare me for here. God wants the best for you and has been preparing you for what's to come.
20) You and God (and your spouse if you are married) have the freedom to decide where you need to be and how long. It can be a scary freedom but also adventurous! You have a chance to start over again as you begin this new life phase.
21) You actually get to sleep! It's great! No more all nighters (unless youth are involved :) )
22) As a pastor you are always "on call" but for the most part, When you come home from work you can focus on home rather than doing homework!
23) Freedom to make decisions for yourself.
24) Marriage (if you choose) is awesome (so are kids).
25) Remember that you can be relevant to the de-churched and pre-Christian without compromising your integrity and convictions.
26) Ability to really relax ie long vacation
27) Putting practice what you have learned
28) Ministry is an adventure
29) You get to apply what you have learned.
30) You get to make a difference for the Kingdom.
31) You will have opportunity to sow into the lives of other ministry students when they send you emails like this.
32) One thing that you will find is that the people you are close to now, may be distanced from you in a year. You both will have to work hard to stay in touch and keep the friendship up to date. And on the flip side, you will find that some people you never thought you would ever hear from again you may cross paths with and establish a closer friendship than what you had before.
33) It is a great encouragement to just hang out with other pastors and listen to their stories. Working with them in community/denominational activities helps to keep you from feeling isolated. Isolation is sneaky, you don't know that you're feeling it or are in it until you're not!
34) Visiting friends and family is at a whole new level. It can be like a "mini-vacation" at times. Oh, and we get two weeks paid vacation starting out at this placement. It is great! We've never had anything close to that before.
35) Being surrounded by church people is a great way to live. They bring you over food all the time, get excited about babies and children and offer to baby-sit for free, and pray for you when things get tough.
36) Making friends outside of the church is part of your job. The church gets excited when it hears you had people they never heard of come over for supper. You get to have cook outs all the time, and its considered work.
37) You get free child care on Sunday. The church is the only job I have ever heard of that on the one day you are required to go "into the office" (our office is in our home) they WANT you to bring the kids and they WATCH them for you.
38) The freedom--you have been in a college setting for four year...your schedule was made for you, your vacation time was made for you. You now choose where you live and you will likely have more free time. You can even choose what movies you watch ;)
39) The responsibility--this might cause you a headache at first, but you will feel a sense of accomplishment when you realize that your are totally self-sufficient. (But never be too proud to accept help if you need it).
40) Getting married is amazing. Your wife is your crown. She is your helper and ministry partner. 2) Moving into your own place - getting established as an adult - is a really neat feeling. 3) When what you do in ministry makes an obvious difference in someone's life. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone "get it" about God.
41) The possibilities are endless. Dream big, follow God, and be creative.
42) You get to decide which books you read. (This only applies if you like reading).
43) Apparently it isn't a sin to watch R-rated movies, to talk theology over a good beer, or to dance. (If you're Wesleyan and serve in a Wesleyan church, that might be another story).
44) I cannot tell you how much of a privilege it is to be an example for God's people. I chose the word "example" for a reason. More important than being a pastor, you are children of God. His handy work! And since you are His child you have a responsibility to pass on Christ's gift of LOVE to those around you. Paul says in, 1 Corinthians 11:1, to "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." In everything, you should want to be able to say “Follow my example as I follow Christ.” This is not something to go about lightly...This is serious. Think to yourself right now, what kind of person would someone be if they followed my example of what a Christian is.......
45) Not an example so that people can say how awesome a pastor you are, or how great your messages are. But an example that Loves God, Loves Others, and Serves the World!!! (Luke 10:27)
46) Your relationships with others will speak louder than any sermon you will ever give!!!!!!!! You have a great opportunity to set an example worth following! Are you ready??? If not make the changes NOW, don’t wait…..Tomorrow never comes!!! (Trust me, I know) If you are ready, praise God for this gift and continue the fight to follow Him with everything
47) Being in a marriage relationship is great. You have a patron and best friend to spend life with.
48) No Homework
49) Regular sleeping pattern
50) Make own schedule and work hours
51) Real purpose
52) No time to travel
53) Not completely poor
54) No homework on the weekends
55) No more Baldwin! You get to cook for yourself now
56) You get experience and see change in people’s lives
57) Freedom – have free time to do fun thing to go places and make awesome memories
58) Dogs!
59) Freedom – can do whatever you want
60) More respect
61) Time to do ministry, not just assignments
62) Spiritual growth in ministry.
63) Freedom to read what you want to read!!!
64) No Help becoming your own person
65) Fresh start
66) Watching people grow
67) Do ministry
68) Putting down Roots
69) Less homework equals less time to love people
70) Read for fun
71) You finally get to serve people. Find out what people in church are reading.
72) Really make Christianity yours
73) A nice quiet home at the end of the day

pk said...

I would add a box for "Friends/Relationships"

For the college side I would put: You live within walking distance of all of your best friends and dozens of other people that could have been your best friends had you not already had so many great friends.

For the "Real Life" side I'd put: It will take time for you to have any friends, and even after a few years you will cherish each friend like they are pure gold.