My dear son,
I realize you will be serving Christ in a world far different than the one where I was trained and first released into ministry. Your methods, your dress, your vocabulary, the technologies you use and even the problems you face may have little in common with the world I knew, or even the world in which we both minister today. You will be a faithful servant of Christ not because you mimic my words or imitate my ministry style, but because you live out the timeless values we share – values that come to us from the Word of God and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So while I still have the opportunity, I want to take a few minutes to summarize in writing the values and life lessons I have attempted to live out before you and most want to pass on to you…
Keep your priorities in line with God’s Word by remembering you are first a person, then a partner, a parent and finally a pastor.
As a Person: Cultivate your relationship with God through Jesus so that serving Him is beauty and not a duty. Remember that He loved you first. Stay close to Jesus and follow him always.
As a Partner: Love your wife as Jesus loves the church and be patient with her. God is using her to make you a better man.
As a Parent: Always be there for your children. Neglecting them for the church will foster the same alienation in them that children experience whose parents neglect them for business or the Country Club.
As a Pastor: Treat your ministry as a vocation and not as a mistress.
Preach the Gospel to yourself every day and then to others.
Be faithful. Even when we fail God remains true. He is faithful and isn’t going to lose his reputation on you or me.