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My First 8 Years (A Tongue-in-Cheek Take on Ministry)

Now if you haven’t read the serious and seriously good post my Bible College buddy Murray Campbell wrote, please do so now.

But as in College days, I couldn’t let him have the last word. So here’s my take on the first 8 years. My list of 8 things I learnt:

1. There are  only six deadly sins

That’s right. It’s NOT ok to be proud, lustful, angry, slothful, envious or greedy. But gluttony? It’s almost a requirement of being a pastor to over-eat. Hey if you’re in an ethnic church, your congregation members are even kind enough to make sure of it!

2. You really do have to watch West Wing 

It’s taken me 8 years, but finally I’m watching The West Wing. Please accept me as a part of the legit ministers club. Please?

3. No matter how hard you try, you will get better at using your cursor than remembering your Greek paradigms

Yes there are exceptions. There are a handful of ministers who will actually finish their M.A.s, even do an M.Th or PhD (sorry, D.Mins don’t count). They have cool Greek surnames or are named after Roman emperors. But for the rest of us, just because you got full marks in Greek exams at Bible College doesn’t mean you don’t immediately gravitate towards the auto-parse cursor on Accordance (or if you’re less cool, Logos).

Get used to the phrase, ‘You had me at luo’.

4. Your congregation really is that shallow

You see, they don’t care if you’ve had a bad haircut, wear an ugly shirt, put on weight, get a tattoo, grow some facial hair… NOT!

5. Leadership isn’t the only thing that’s ‘caught not taught’

When people recognise leaders you’ve trained because they go around giving nipple cripples, dacking others and randomly calling out ‘stacks on!’, you know your training has had unintended consequences.

(If you’re wondering: I caught it off Gary Koo. He caught it off Peter Lin. True story.)

6. Phillip Jensen was wrong about toilet humour

I can’t remember if the Dean said it or not (so apologies if he didn’t), but it’s not true that toilet humour is the lowest form of humour in preaching.

Nothing is as awesome in a sermon as a well-timed poo joke. Nothing.

7. Being a graduate of Moore College means you either get away with murder or are universally hated

I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked, ‘Where did you train? Oh, Moore College?’, and then… end of conversation.

At this point, you either get automatic permission to lead, preach and do Gangnam Style from the pulpit, or you get chased out with whips.

8. The secret to successful church planting is Chinese food

You can forget Ed Stetzer, Acts 29, Redeemer City to City, New Frontiers, or Geneva Push. The only church planting strategy you need is to find where good Chinese food is and put a church there. It’s the secret strategy to the rapid growth of Asian churches for over four decades.