Rev. James Williams, Senior Pastor of the historic First Baptist Church of Philadelphia, spoke at our recent Monday morning Campolo Scholars Fellowship.
James is a Campolo Scholar alum who completed his seminary education and training at Eastern University’s Palmer Theological Seminary. He served as last year’s Resident Campolo Fellow.
James shared three things he wished he’d better understood before starting ministry, presenting some solid pastoral and pragmatic advice:
- The importance of outreach — we’re called to be active participants in making the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven.
- The importance of authenticity — we need to cultivate relationships with the people and community we serve. To earn trust and credibility, we must be honest, transparent, and vulnerable.
- The importance of self-care — regardless of the type of ministry, be it pastoring, Christian education, or social work, it’s vital to remain physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy. We must establish healthy boundaries, know our limitations, and discern “where our work ends” in order to avoid burnout. We need to keep the Sabbath and maintain devotional, mediative, and prayer practices. And, we should not forget the Source of our strength!
It turns out that these three principles — outreach, authenticity, and self-care — have profound implications for ministry and the life of the church.
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