2. Turn over more responsibility to key people, empower them, and then support them before the congregation. And when some of the members begin whining because “We want the pastor, not an assistant” I would tell them to get over it, and have the strength to stick to the plan.
I’m sorry I let myself be manipulated by people who insisted I be the one to show up at their events or was the one they preferred to visit their hospital room, etc, even though plenty of others were just as qualified as me. It ran me ragged and the church suffered for it.
3. Reserve the morning hours for secluded study of God’s Word and sermon preparation. Even if it means staying home during these hours, I would do it. There are too many distractions, interruptions, phone calls, or walk-ins that will throw you off. Pastors are under a seven-day deadline every single week to deliver another message. The pressure of doing this week-after-week, month-after-month, year-after-year, is something most people do not experience in their line of work, so they won’t understand. Doesn’t matter. Do it anyway. Your pulpit ministry will be much better.
Early in my ministry I spent too much time visiting hospitals, attending denominational meetings, or keeping morning appointments so I could check those tasks off the list and then have the rest of the day for other things. Consequently, I was always behind on sermon preparation and found myself burning the midnight oil on Friday or Saturday night too often. And my pulpit ministry suffered for it.
5. I would be more straightforward and a little less “the nice guy” to church bullies or squeaky wheels who always expect to get their way in the church. Every church has a few bullies. Early in my ministry I was intimidated by them. By the time I planted PCC I was seasoned enough to know how deal with them. It’s why I am still here and they are not.
And have a life outside of church-life.