Jump directly to the Content

Preparing Myself

A pastor, of course, must do many things to prepare to lead people weekly in worship, from preparing a sermon to putting hymnals in place. But before I attend to technical matters, I've learned to attend to spiritual concerns.
— Jack Hayford

I was 22 when I took my first pastorate, a small congregation in Fort Wayne, Indiana. At best we averaged forty-seven people in worship.

We had one rough stretch. As some members moved and others went away for the summer, our average attendance over a five-month stretch dropped steadily, from forty-seven, to forty-four, to thirty-three, to twenty-two, and finally, by the middle of August, to eleven.

One Sunday morning there were only eight people in church. When my family came back for the evening service, nobody showed. No one.

I sat discouraged in the front row next to Anna, my wife, and our baby, who was lying in a bassinet.

I was already defeated after the morning service, but now I felt simply awful. What in the world am I doing there? I thought. If ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
Why Defining Gossip Matters in the Church’s Response to Abuse
Why Defining Gossip Matters in the Church’s Response to Abuse
Have we tamed the tongue too much? Christians work to recover a biblical understanding of harmful hearsay vs. healthy criticism.
Editor's Pick
Visitation Is Still Our Vocation
Visitation Is Still Our Vocation
We may face new challenges, but the heart of our calling remains the same.