In the St. Louis metro area it's beginning to look a lot like spring - the time when young pastors go out to war against the world, the devil, and the flesh straight out of seminary not having a blessed clue about the maelstrom they are walking into. God's grace is sufficient, of course, and his power made known in our weakness. All the same, help the brothers out. What's the best advice you've received for how to conduct the ministry? Below are the tidbits of wisdom I still think about quite a bit and from whom I received them. They range from the pious to the practical. Add more in the comments.
Start a midweek service - you need it and your people will benefit from it. - Prof. Kent Burreson
Have the congregation take your tithe out of your salary off the top and simply not pay it to you. It's a good example to the parish and lowers your and the parish's tax burden (of course, you cannot have your cake and eat it, too: it will also lower what you are allowed to pay into the Concordia retirement plan). - Fr. Bob Geaschel
Use the phone - a lot. Keep in touch with people. It's easy and wins a lot of points. - Fr. Bill Reinhardt.
Write notes - aim for one a day. Thank yous to your Sunday school teachers, trustees, elders; come back to church notes to your delinquents, etc. - Fr. Larry Rockemann
Set aside one night a week to be in the study, keep it open for appointments, etc. Just be there on that night. - Fr. Bob Geaschel
Whatever else you read, use the Treasury of Daily Prayer every day: it's solid and you can encourage your people to do the same and you'll all literally be on the same page. - Fr. William Weedon
If you've had a hard day, it's OK to eat macaroni and cheese with a gin and tonic for lunch. - Fr. Fred Bischoff
The first thing when you get to your new parish, sit down with your elders and ask them who needs visited, who's sick, who's angry, what are the pressing needs that you need to hit the Monday after you are installed. - Prof. Richard Warneck
It's better to change pretty much everything you are going to want to change in the conduct of the Divine Service right away - of course, explaining why to your elders, altar guild, etc. If you try to change one thing now, another thing two months from now, and another thing six months from then, the people will get change fatigue. If it could wait six months, why not six years? If six years, why not six decades? They expect stuff to change whenever they get a new pastor. - Fr. Ralph Tausz
When you are having a terrible day, it feels like everyone is out to get you, and you just want to crawl in a hole and die - go on a shut in call and say a Mass. - Fr. David Petersen
Call your day off your "Pastor's family day" on the parish calendar. [and see poll at right] - Fr. Rick Stuckwisch
Go to Confession. - Fr. Martin Luther
Pray the office especially on those days when you feel you don't want to. - C.S. Lewis