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Billy Graham Shares a Word of Wisdom With Ministers

Billy Graham on his 91st birthday shares wisdom
Source: The Tennessean/November 7, 2009
Q: There are many preachers who burn out early, because they've got to work two jobs in order to make ends meet, or who labor for years with little results, or who would rather start a new church than pastor an older small church. What advice do you have for preachers who are just starting out or who have reached the burnout point?
A: Some churches, I'm afraid, don't realize just how stressful a pastor's job can be. We need to pray for our pastors, and congregational leaders especially need to be alert to the problems their pastors face and do what they can to help them and encourage them. The first thing I often tell a new pastor or missionary is to stay close to Christ. God called them into the ministry, and He alone can give them the wisdom and strength they'll need, by His Holy Spirit. It's easy to get so busy in the ministry that we fail to spend time alone with God in prayer and in the Bible — and yet nothing is more important or more necessary. Then every pastor needs to have a clear set of priorities. That's true for all of us, but it's especially true for busy pastors, because they find themselves pulled in so many directions. I've often said that if I had it to do over again, I'd spend more time studying, and I'd spend more time with my family. Sometimes we need to say "No" to the demands that are made upon us; something else may be more important in God's eyes. I heard a pastor say once that he had a meeting every night of the week, and he almost sounded like he was bragging about how busy he was. But I couldn't help but wonder if he had really learned to manage his time. I feared for his family also. I also wondered if he had learned to delegate, and to get others in his church involved in ministry. The pastor shouldn't have to do everything — that's not the Biblical pattern. We also need to learn to take care of ourselves, no matter who we are. Jesus and His disciples needed rest — and so do we: "Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest' " (Mark 6:31).