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McKinley's Laws Of Ministry

The first synod convention I attended after ordination was held in the ballroom of a magnificent hotel. At one point in the gathering, the presiding officer recognized pastors celebrating their twenty-fifth, thirtieth, fortieth, and fiftieth anniversaries of ordination.

As they doddered to the front, I marveled: I had been alive for twenty-five years; these guys (and they were all guys) had lasted for twenty-five years as pastors. Some of them twice that!

I have reason for remembering that moment. If my synod chooses to do that same thing this year, I will be one of those doddering pastors. I've been a parish pastor for twenty-five years. Scary thought.

As a wizened sage, let me offer nine lessons parish ministry has taught me that I never learned in seminary. Call them McKinley's Laws.

Law 1:
The person who sticks his or her head into your office and says, "Do you have a minute?" really wants at least an hour.

Law 2: Congregation council meetings will take longer and accomplish ...

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