How to Achieve Longevity in Ministry

When I first entered full-time ministry in 1997 I thought all I wanted to do was to have a long ministry career.  I never thought of doing anything else.  And when you are single and don’t have anything else to tie you down or cause you to have work and personal life boundaries, that is easy…honestly, it is.

But longevity in ministry doesn’t just happen.  It has to be intentional. It has to be purposeful and strategic or else you’ll just end up a statistic of all those, “he/she would have been a great minister long term but ________________ (fill in the blank)” categories.

So how organize your life in such a way that you can stay in ministry for the long term?  Here are 3 ways:

  1. Avoid Burnout. Burnout destroys a lot of ministry careers. Ministers work long, odd hours. Because of this, it is vital that you take care of yourself. if you don’t take care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally; if you don’t put up boundaries between your work and personal life; if you don’t protect your family you WILL end up with burnout because the stress of juggling all you do will become too much. ACTION: Evaluate where you are spending your time. How much time you are spending there and what adjustments do you need to make so you have balance in your life?
  2. Expect Losing Seasons. You will have years where things don’t quiet work out the way you want. The key is how do you adapt to those losing seasons. Learn from them and make adjustments so you can regroup, reform and go again. ACTION: Keep of list of lessons learned throughout the year and make adjustments to what you are doing continually. You’ll hit rough spots along the way, but if you are constantly evaluating and adapting along the way your “losing seasons” can have some positive outcomes.
  3. Develop Leaders. You aren’t meant to do ministry alone. You need to be able to raise up leaders to help us.  The more leaders you can recruit, train and develop, the more effective you will be at reach more people for Christ. Without a team with you, you will just be a one person army and that won’t get you far in the long run. ACTION: Develop a recruitment, training and development strategy so you can avoid carrying all the weight of the program by yourself.

Three things you can do today that help you achieve longevity in ministry.  But I know they aren’t the only things you can do.

How have you been able to stay long in ministry?  What have you done?  Share below or on social media using #ymsidekick.

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Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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