Ten Tips for Becoming a Better Pastor

Some of the readers of this blog are pastors or aspiring pastors. In the interest of honing the pastoral craft, I wanted to offer ten tips for becoming a better pastor. Readers should not infer from this any hubris on my part. Like baseball, Christian ministry relies on the wisdom of experience. Even a minor-leaguer pitcher who’s still working out his own kinks can help the local Little-League star learn how to throw a curveball. If he doesn’t, he’s betraying the tradition.

These ten tips are intended for men who are currently pastors and seeking to become better ones. Those who aspire toward ministry but aren’t “in it” yet need a different list. But that’s another post.

So: ten tips for becoming a better pastor, in no particular order. I’ll list all ten in this post and then elucidate each one in the posts to follow.

  1. Separate your identity from your vocation
  2. Listen and read widely, but develop your own voice
  3. Become a wordsmith
  4. Spend less time on sermon prep
  5. Do more pastoral counseling
  6. Seek out a good debate – not to win, but to learn
  7. Be a prophet, not a parrot
  8. Saturate yourself in the primary sources
  9. Protect your schedule to allow solitude, reflection, and prayer
  10. Pay attention to what’s upstream


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  1. Under be a wordsmith – thank you for reviving the word hubris.

    I fully believe ‘hubris’ should always be produced with an deep, chesty elongated ‘hu’ followed by an annunciation ‘bris’, extend the ‘s’. This is the way my professor pronounced it in my classical Greek literature class in college.

  2. “be a prophet not a parrot ” must have come from the Holy Spirit because I heard the same thing the other day. Thank you again for being the evidence of the Holy Spirit.

    P.S. glad you landed well! God Bless

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