I do not understand young leaders who do more talking than listening when around ministry veterans. Far too many act as if they already have it all figured out. There is absolutely no way they can learn anything from a ministry dinosaur who owns a suit, shaves daily and can’t spell UFC.

Maybe it was the way my generation was raised, but I have always had deep respect for ministry elders and spiritual fathers, even if they are pitiful at self-promotion and totally unimpressed with their own accomplishments. When around these spiritual heroes I try to ask a lot of questions and listen aggressively.

Pastor Jack Hayford is one of those elders we can all learn much from. Ed Stetzer (Mr Ed) included the following Jack Hayford gem in his blog today. (Pastor Jack’s words are in bold italics. My comments follow.)

In this my 77th year, I am still privileged to speak to thousands of pastors annually. Their most asked question: “What is the secret to an abiding fruitfulness in ministry?”

To answer, I acknowledge the essential touchpoints:

  1. Fidelity to God’s Eternal Word. (The Bible is always a good answer, no matter what the question is.)
  2. Faithful devotion to one’s wife and family. ( As Vito Corleone once said to his worthless son, Sonny: “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” And a pastor who does not prioritize family…)
  3. Personal purity and self-discipline in all things. (This is not a side issue or a afterthought, but a daily and lifetime conviction and passion.)
  4. Love Christ’s people, humbly and respectfully acknowledging the worth of all who honor Christ, though they differ from my theology. (There is so much we can learn from other movements and denominations, as long as we don’t assume our group has all the answers.)
  5. Keep a life of personal worship and intimate prayer fellowship with Jesus. (So simple, yet so powerful. Probably the key to all of the above.)