It’s not every day you get to interview a person with 60 years of ministry experience. But on the latest episode of The Grind Podcast (ep. 37) that's exactly what Chad and Dave did. Sixty years! That’s six decades of highs and lows, scores of deacon’s meetings, and a myriad of sermons delivered. Paul McClung gave his life to the churches he pastored. He has pastored half-time churches (churches that only meet twice a month), bi-vocational churches, small churches, and large churches, in both rural and urban contexts. He also served at the denominational level with the ABSC for 12 years. In all of those years and with all of that experience, he had this to say: “You have to find a way to give your life to your church without losing your life. You have to maintain these four priorities.”
1. Be the man God wants you to be.
2. Be a partner to your wife.
3. Be a parent to your children.
4. Be a pastor to your church.
In that order.
Brother Paul admitted that it’s easier said than done. He admitted, with his son sitting directly across from him, that he was not a master of the list. But in his ministry he strived to keep his priorities in this order and in so doing was the most effective at each. “There is no way to be a good husband unless you are the man God wants you to be,” McClung said. “And there is no way to be a good father unless you are a good husband. And the only way to be a good pastor is if the other three priorities are in place.”
He told one particular story about these priorities and the challenge it is to live up to them. One day after coming home from a long day of ministry he fell into his chair with his white buttoned-down shirt and neck tie still on. He settled in front of the TV with the newspaper holding his full attention. “I don’t know how many times my daughter said, ‘Daddy.’ But what finally got my attention is when she said, ‘Brother Paul!’ I immediately turned to her and said, ‘Yes, what do you need?’ Her only response was, ‘It worked!’”
From that day forward when Brother Paul came home he changed his clothes immediately. And with his clothes, he changed his mindset from minister to daddy.
No matter where you are in ministry, maintaining your priorities is difficult to do. There is always something urgent that is warring for your attention. Ensuring the right order of these four relationships is the key to giving your life to your ministry without losing it.
Which one do you struggle with the most? What adjustments do you need to make in your four? What priorities need reprioritizing in 2018? Let our faithful brother with sixty years experience be a voice we don’t soon forget.