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Starting Out and Staying In

Young pastors long for respect, but at least three battles have to be won first.

I've sometimes wished I could hibernate for about ten years and emerge as a more mature, experienced pastor. While our culture idolizes youth, most churches also desire the wisdom and experience of age. The perfect pastor is thirty-five with at least twenty-five years of experience!

Age and experience are, of course, significant in many careers, but the ministry possesses an age dynamic different from other professions. Young pastors are immediately thrust into positions of leadership with people their parents' and grandparents' age.

In my second year out of seminary, I was invited to speak at a church renewal weekend. After my first message Friday night, an eighty-two-year-old member told my wife, "When I saw how young he was, I was sure he wouldn't have anything to say to me. Fortunately, I was wrong." When my wife relayed the message to me, I winced because I understood her initial impression. After all, what right do I have to teach a person nearly three times my age?

Three primary issues ...

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