1. Make sure that your personal walk with Jesus is firing on all cylinders. Take the time each day to be with God in his Word, meditate on what the Spirit is saying to you, and pray that he would fill you and keep you in step with his will for your life.
2. Remember that your family is your primary mission field. They must take priority, particularly when the children are small. You must always be true to your word and your promises. Never let them down for ‘church business’ and let them know constantly that they are supremely important to you and your life. Be present at the dinner table and ensure that they are being guided and led spiritually. Create memories, have fun, and take regular time off together.
3. Don’t get cocky when things are going well. It is so easy to think that things are dependent on us as leaders and we become self-sufficient. Take heed he who thinks he stands . . . many a godly man has shipwrecked his faith and ministry because of pride.
4. Love people more than you love projects. God’s people are not a means to an end for establishing ‘your’ ministry. They are the sheep of his flock, and we are charged with taking care of them for the Lord. Never reduce people to strategies and methods.
5. Don’t be afraid to repent when you get it wrong. Fess up when you make mistakes. People will respect you for it. Don’t be afraid to show weakness. We are not perfect and we are not islands. We need to keep short accounts and be transparent to our people.
6. Listen to godly advice and wisdom from those who have walked the trail before you. Not everybody is trying to slow you down and kill your vision. They may have great words of wisdom to speak into your life that may help enlarge your vision, encourage your soul, and give you fresh ideas and input. Seek out men like this, for they will add longevity to your ministry.
7. Trust in God even when things don’t seem to be going to plan. God works best in our lives when things are messy. Don’t get disheartened and depressed too quickly.
8. Remember that your first love is the Lord Jesus Christ and if that starts to wane, then it is time to take a break and a step back from the heat of ministry.
9. Don’t be tempted to water down the gospel in order to ‘win friends’. The early days can be lonely and a bit of a slog. But, be true to the Word and the message of eternal life—for that is what will ultimately save people.
10. Have a plan but be flexible, adaptable, and open to changing it at the drop of a hat. Let the context dictate the method (not the message) and remember not to try to squeeze your ideas into a cultural mould that does not fit. This will save you a lot of time and heartache.