For more reading on long-term faithfulness in ministry with practical wisdom from veteran pastors, see Faithful Endurance: The Joy of Shepherding People for a Lifetime from The Gospel Coalition.
Al Mohler offers counsel to young ministers on how they should prepare to faithfully endure in ministry by changing how they measure satisfaction in ministry.
Below is a lightly edited transcript of the video above. Before quoting, please check the video to ensure accuracy.
As I look back over decades of ministry, I could easily give testimony to the hard lessons learned. In other words, I don’t find satisfaction in every single moment of every single day, and I don’t think that’s what God gives us. I think over ministry you have to understand that satisfaction can’t be measured by seconds and minutes or hours or days. Sometimes it’s not measured by weeks.
Regardless of how happy we are in our calling and how excited and energetic we are about our ministry, the reality is that, in a fallen world, some days are just rather hard and other days, even collections of days, weeks, seem like very little has been accomplished. But you’ll need to learn to look over a longer period of time. In the human equation, we always have to deal with the longer period of time. We don’t learn that fast. We don’t grow that quickly. We shouldn’t expect that those to whom we’re ministering and with whom we are the body of Christ to be any faster than we are.
And then we look over a period of years and we realize more happened in those days and weeks and months than I saw. We can’t measure the effectiveness of our ministry very well in the present. That’s one of the tragedies of ministries that are just too short and ministers who move on too fast. Sometimes ministry is a matter of tenacity, and the only way we find true fulfillment and true effectiveness in ministry is by looking back over a very long period of time and saying, “I wouldn’t actually trade all that time or any of those days for anything.”