Graeme Young is a retired pastor. He and his wife Marion have been in ministry for 37 years, including time in Papanui, Paeroa and 24 years at Whangārei Central Baptist Church. 

I was visiting the Baptist Hui when I met up with a younger pastor who questioned me about Baptist Ministry. He told me about his teenage years, “You were it for me. You used to preach twice on Sunday, two different sermons. How did you do it?” 

Years before this meeting, I had been challenged to think about my top five priorities as a Senior Pastor. I was, therefore, primed to give a short and succinct answer.

I gave him an answer based on four ‘Ps’. Later, I realised I should have added a fifth. 

My five ‘Ps’ are . . .      


If we do nothing else, praying for our people and the wider church could be the greatest pastoral ministry we will ever perform. John Hyde, Rees Howells, George Muller, Mother Teresa, and Joy Smith, amongst many others, are all examples of people of God who understood the power of prayer. Prayer unleashes the creative power of God through the imagination. 


Careful, thoughtful and collegial planning with our Elders, Ministry Leaders, Staff Teams and our people will unlock many creative ministry opportunities in our communities. Continually planning ahead for two years releases us, as Pastors, from reactive tension and criticism. It enables the church to plan for regular as well as special programmes to fit within committed Teaching and Ministry priorities. It also allows budgets to be set and met.

Pastoral Care

As Pastors, there are many emergencies we have to respond to. Interruptions are part and parcel of our regular weekly routine. If we have a Planned Pastoral Care Structure enlisting people from within the congregation with pastoral giftings, this adds power to what we want to achieve in caring for our people.


If we preach out of the awareness of the first three principles, our preaching will be effective. Preaching exegetically from the Bible will fit the congregational needs. It has often surprised me how character studies and themes, worked out months before, have met needs when the sermons are finally delivered. Good planning and preparation are essential for good preaching.


It is very important that we know how to relax. Fishing, golfing, cars, family time, artistic involvement, music, recreational reading, good coffee and holidays are all things that should be planned into the diary. If we don’t do this, the congregation’s needs will very quickly take over, and we will begin to wonder why we are so tired or even burnt out.

The call of God into pastoral ministry is a high calling, demanding total commitment, but it must be worked out in a creative way that enables us and our families to survive and flourish. Servanthood is what we are called to. 

Jesus said, ‘It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ (Matt.20:28 RSV)

In following Jesus’ model of servanthood, this verse is one of the planks of our ministry and maturity.

Photo: Provided by Graeme Young

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