To Pastors Everywhere in need of Encouragement
Have you ever struggled in your ministry? There are times when each of us will, and it won’t be easy. Ministry is not an easy task by any means and it is our hope that we can offer you, our readers, a few resources to use in your everyday ministries. The content in this little eBook is meant to be a small part of that.
As we continue to grow in our ministry, it is our desire to provide more little eBooks like this one to help you find the answers you seek each and every day. We have many writers from all experiences in life and in ministry and LTSM will continue to seek writers and other pastors to help us provide encouraging content to you.
When we launched this ministry, about 2 years ago, we had no idea where it would lead. Truthfully, we are still figuring out a few things, but there is one thing we know for sure and that is everyone needs a little encouragement here and there along the journey in life and in ministry.
Keep Seeking, Keep Searching and Keep Standing Strong.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
You’ve seen it. Your pastor just isn’t as happy as he used to be. The smile isn’t as wide. His eyes don’t glow when he talks to people. His joy has faded.
He’s weary. Worn out.
If you are a pastor you’ve felt it. You are not preaching with the same gusto. Studying is a struggle. Prayer feels like a prick in your heart. Your heart? Yes, that’s where the problem lies.
As our verse says our hope is that we can go around “doing good.” We want to plant seed and watch it grow in do-good garden. The fruit of our work starts with us being able to cultivate hearts that are fertile for God. But, the reality is not every heart is fertile. Some just want us to do what they think we should do. That’s why Paul said, “not grow weary.” Like a crop of doing good, weeds begin to spring up and need to be plucked. “Dealt with” is probably a better phrase. See, people and problems are always intertwined in the do-good garden.
People have agendas and they want something from us. Sometimes their agendas keep us from doing good. They place us in situations we can’t succeed in and then the failure weed grows in our heart.
People begin to talk about us. Sometimes what they are saying isn’t even true. A complaint. A critique. A criticism. What can we do? Keep going and growing.
Without growth the plant dies. Without spiritual growth the heart dies. We have to keep praying, reading our Bibles, studying, witnessing, and ministering to the people. If we let a person keep us from growing, we will quit going to people and doing good. That’s what the enemy wants. Discouragement is the greatest weed the enemy plants.
As I said earlier, people and problems are intertwined in ministry. Problems are always connected to people. We have to deal with people continually. When problems aren’t dealt with they grow. Then we cannot reap the harvest. Weeds have choked out healthy growth. The church garden is weed infested.
When we feel like there is no fruit, no growth, we give up.
First, it’s just in our heart. Then it’s written all over our face. Our smile is forced. Our preaching isn’t what it once was because we are staring at the weeds. So what do we do? Pull the weeds. Deal with the person. In love. But deal with it. We cannot continue doing good if all we feel is bad. I have been there. I have given up. But, the good news is God never gives up on us.
We’d love to pray with you or talk with you. You can connect with us on our
Keep Looking Up!
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All healing comes from God! A pastor is used by God as a channel for spiritual healing energy, not the source. Even if the pastor uses healing guides to assist him with the process, the source is God. The pastor with assistance from God work together as a unified channel for passing God’s healing to his people. The pastor allows himself or herself to be used as a conduit where healing energy flows to benefit others.
God’s Power Brings Healing
God’s healing power is naturally spiritual. It works in the spirit and anyone connected with him in spirit can become his healing channel as long as their intention is to work with God to help others. In the line of ministry, pastors are often called to help others find spiritual healing. However, there are times when pastors find themselves in need of spiritual healing too. To whom can they turn to and what things can they do in the comfort of their home to help them find spiritual healing?
We need to acknowledge that spiritual energy is priceless and difficult to acquire. Healing ministries consume a lot of spiritual energy which can be physically and emotionally draining to the person performing it. On occasion, most of our supportive pastors get overwhelmed by ministerial duties. Let us not forget that we are all subjects of sorrow and suffering and pastors are no exception.
Pastors, just as Christians experience brokenness, burnouts, detachment, and spiritual dryness. Pastors need spiritual healing too. The million-dollar question is from whom or where can they get spiritual healing from.
Spiritual healing for pastors is possible. There are a variety of spiritual exercises that can assist a pastor to experience spiritual healing in places where wholeness is not experienced. The good thing is these exercises can be done in the comfort of their homes. Pastors ought to have a spiritual director to walk with, to listen and encourage them when they are broken and experiencing dry periods. Together they can identify and establish areas of strengths that can be used as refreshing points during their weak moments.
Praying for Spiritual Healing
As pastors and other servants of God, we must continuously pray for spiritual healing. We must consistently remember to connect with our source of hope, peace and strength. Prayer is a means by which we express ourselves and our brokenness to God. In prayer, we acknowledge that there is a higher being beyond us that is working within us.
A daily practice of prayer combined with scriptures will help prevent burnout. The Scripture is our source of strength as it provides us with encouraging words that apply in whatever situation we might be facing. We must always remember that the ministry we are doing is for the good of the people we serve and so that the name of God may be glorified. We stand as true testimonies of the living word of God.
As such we should allow the Scriptures to be our place of strength and healing.
Encouragement through Spiritual Healing
In a world full of false promises, problems, anger and hatred spiritual healing is a necessity. Each day, thousands of believers join different ministries in search of spiritual healing. Believers are trying to reconnect with their higher self. As a result, there has been an increase in numbers of ministries intended to help those in need of spiritual healing. Remember healing is a continuous process and works best for those who believe in it because a double minded person.
Keep an open mind and reading books about spiritual healing to find encouragement and to help you minister effectively to your congregants. These resources are readily available online or in local bookshops. Books like Spiritual Healing by Dr. Stuart Grayson or The Miracle of Healing by Pastor Benny Hinn and Spirituality and God’s Word on Divine Healing by Kenneth Hagin are a good start in helping you know about spiritual healing. Not forgetting the Bible. Meditating and studying in-depth on Spiritual healing, meditating and confessing healing scriptures is the best way for us to get grounded and established in Spiritual health.
Faith Brings Life,
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The Role of the Pastor’s Wife
Serving as a pastor’s wife can appear to be one of the most exciting roles in the Christian world. You have the opportunity to sit front and center and watch as God’s love and Word is manifested through your husband. While it may look glamorous, as with anything else, every day is not always sunny. Some days your husband gets discouraged; sometimes you get discouraged. And, quite frankly, sometimes it’s your job to encourage your husband to keep going even when everything in you doesn’t really know if he should or not.
What are Some Biblical Examples of Encouraging Moments?
I am often reminded of the biblical example of David in 1 Samuel 30. There were talks throughout the land that men were discussing stoning him; and, quite frankly, David was afraid. He had overcome so many things in his past; however, the opposition seemed so great there was no way he could keep going.
This story about David is probably much like your husband right now. He’s feeling discouraged. He’s feeling as if all odds are against him, and even though he’s overcome so much, he can’t seem to handle this most recent challenge. Maybe you’re also feeling the fear that your husband is experiencing. Perhaps you also worry about what may or may not happen, but we all can learn a vital lesson from David, and that is to simply encourage yourself in the Lord.
Serving as a Pastor’s Wife
During my husband’s time in ministry, supporting my husband in ministry proved to be the key to his success. Before I served anyone else in our church, I always made sure that I had first served him at his needs. There will often be so much opposition standing in your husband’s way that he needs to be able to know that you’re by his side. As a wife you also have to make it clear to those who are involved in your ministry that you are standing by your spouse.
Final Word of Encouragement to the Pastor and His Wife
During those moments when you both are feeling down, remember to remain encouraged. Remember why you started every day you feel like giving up. There’s a scripture that often kept my husband and I encouraged during our church planting days that simply said: Many plans occupy the mind of a man, but the LORD’s purposes will prevail (Proverbs 19:21). It doesn’t matter how hard things are, it doesn’t matter how discouraged you may feel, you can remain confident that the Lord’s purposes will prevail.
As a wife, you may not always have the answers, and sometimes it may not be your job to have the answer; however, it is your job to always be still and know that God is God. Continue to stand with your husband; don’t ever stop praying for him and the ministry you have entered into together. (Remember, you’re one now, so his ministry is your ministry.) As long as you both continue to seek God in prayer and continue to read his Word, there is nothing too hard for him.
Blessings to you All,
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My dear brother in Christ, our beloved Shepherd did it in divine perfection. We, however, have our human limitations. We have our ups, but frequently, also our downs. We do not always understand why but we must consider change. It’s a part of life and a part of our spiritual growth. Without it we stay where we are. However, we must also consider this, “change” should not develop into mere “entertainment” with irrelevant frills. When we are focused on entertaining others we create disaster. What if instead we consider making changes in a way that will help the congregation become more aware of God’s personal presence, how worthy of praise and worship He is, and how blessed we are to be His children?
The Problems We Face
The lack of enthusiasm and commitment in the majority of a congregation is sometimes a riddle. There are numerous cases worldwide of ministries that have apparently ground to a standstill. Let us for a moment put ourselves in those leaders’ shoes.
In some ways Christianity has become stagnant. Many church members know only about going to church services, having an occasional visit from the pastor, and for the rest they go on with their daily lives, leaving the spreading of the Gospel to so-called “specialists,” as we are sometimes considered to be. I sometimes wonder if we are not trying only to make our local congregation survive. Have we as God’s Minister’s, perhaps forgotten and forsaken the reason for the existence of the church (the “called out ones”) – to make disciples? After all, that was Jesus’ last command. Could this perspective possibly help our congregations to grow?
There was a time that I was trying to “herd the flock” all by myself. Then it suddenly dawned on me while I was reading Ex.18 – the detail of how God told Moses to lighten the burden of leadership. Is it possible that we as leaders are sometimes too much of being “man alone” and in the end feel “burnt out”?
Let’s Consider Possibilities
: Is it possible that we’ve been preaching too much about conversion, repentance, and confession of sins? Let’s consider ways to teach the congregation more about the joys of being God’s child, the wonder of God’s Word, how to tell friends about Jesus and His Gospel, rediscovering God’s overhaul plan of salvation.
are where a congregation is organized in neighborhoods or districts. They come together on a regular basis (e.g., Sunday evenings). There are many possibilities here: They have a specific Bible study, discuss certain Biblical topics, and make notes of “kinks in the cable,” which they can ask “Moses” about (;-)). They can visit the neighborhood in pairs, have a brief discussion, distribute tracts, invite people to their regular meetings and Sunday morning services, encourage each other -- the list goes on.
But we, “one lone Moses,” cannot accomplish all this by ourselves! Don’t you think a well-briefed, fired-up team could really “hold up our hands”? – especially if we have two, three, or four “real organizers” in our team? What about starting a small group, gradually invite more people, and, in time, build up to a project like house churches?
: In some services that I have previously attended, the liturgical order seemed to be molded in concrete: the same words, the same Law, the same order, the same everything. In my case I knew exactly when and what was coming next (yawn!). I knew it so well that any change would have shaken me wide awake and gotten my attention.
Have you considered what a “spirit builder” this may turn out to be? It may vary in character – sometimes a sing-along, sometimes a discussion of a recent sermon or a Bible topic (“come on folks, here’s something I can’t quite place”), sometimes praying for special circumstances in the congregation like sickness, a particular project, or even for our country.
My dear brother/sister, when Jesus called us, He never promised us “a rose garden,” but He promised to sustain us with the power of His Holy Spirit – over our high moments but also through our valleys of doubts and our “Why?”s. He will not burden us with loads too heavy to bear. Let us keep “looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross” (Heb.12:2). After all, He promised: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mat.6:33).
May God bless and sustain you in your love and your zeal for Him,
All Christians know how it feels to fall short of your best intentions for God. This is magnified to a greater degree for those in ministry. I am here to provide encouragement for pastors on down, because pastors need to be encouraged too. In fact, finding encouragement in ministry is imperative to the continued growth of the congregation.
Let me provide you encouragement by telling you something very simple: you will always make mistakes. Knowing this and accepting it is the only way you can free yourself to receive spiritual renewal from the Holy Spirit, because self-condemnation is an idol. Expecting yourself to be good enough for God is the very reason why the Pharisees were unable to see their need for God.
Though Paul is almost universally considered one of the staples of the Christian faith, I believe that Peter’s story is far more relatable. What do I mean by that exactly? Well, Paul’s story is the perfect example of a blind man finally being given sight. He didn’t persecute knowing Christ is the Messiah; he truly believed that he was doing the will of God. When it was shown that Jesus is the Way, he never faltered in his walk.
Can any of us really relate to this? Despite our best intentions, we falter. Despite the part of us that loves Jesus more than anything else, we find ourselves drawn to fleshly desires. Very few of us experienced a profound conversion story; instead it was a quiet moment of brokenness where we realized that we needed a Savior. So many of us are like Peter: fishing on the shores of daily life, when suddenly Jesus’ voice calls out to us and says, “Drop what you’re doing and follow me.”
And follow we do… to the best of our abilities, at least. We falter daily. And every mistake can make us feel dirty and unworthy of the love Christ freely gives. We are Peter; very few of us are Paul. When truly honest with ourselves, we approach daily life with a double mind: we want to do the will of God while fighting the desire to do the will of self.
When looking for examples of spiritual renewal in the bible, Peter is our representative. This is a man who walked with Jesus for the entirety of His ministry, saw countless miracles, said with his own lips that Jesus is the Son of God, and claimed that he would follow Jesus unto death… and yet when it really counted, he denied his Lord three times before the rooster crowed. (John 18: 15-27)
Now, when reading about Peter, nobody can claim he was talking out of both sides of his mouth. When he said he would follow Jesus unto death, he meant it, because it’s easy to mean something when you’re not facing it. Just as it was easy for him to say he would follow Jesus unto death, it’s easy for us to claim that we will be bold, fearless, and uncompromising for our Lord. But, when we’re faced with it, it’s easy to shrink away.
Peter denied Jesus and afterward was practically a shell of a man, ashamed of his weak nature, and brokenhearted for what he had done to his Lord. And yet, this same man would end up dying crucified upside down, because he didn’t feel worthy to die the same way Jesus had. What changed? Was it his contrite heart? Was it the fact that after Jesus’ resurrection, He sought Peter out and called Him friend? Where did this missing boldness come from?
The answer to Peter’s spiritual renewal comes in none other than the Helper Jesus had promised would come: the Holy Spirit. Peter’s denial of Jesus was a display of how weak man is on his own. But, when the Holy Spirit came, the boldness of Christ now lived in him. He no longer feared death; he welcomed it and felt proud that he could suffer for his Lord.
The fact is simple: everything that is good about us is the Spirit of God. To think anything different is to give ourselves way too much credit, especially considering the fact that God says, “Our best works are but filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)
Finding spiritual renewal as a Pastor comes down to first understanding that on our own we are nothing. Christ is everything that’s good about us. And even though you have been given the job to lead His sheep, the mistakes you make along the way do not change the fact that a perfect God lives within you, a God that willingly suffered immeasurable pain so that you could be washed clean by the precious blood of His sacrifice.
If you let him, the enemy will try to remove your yearning for God by telling you that you aren’t worthy of Him to begin with. None of us are worthy of Him. That’s why Christ came and died on the cross, to make us worthy through Him. Be encouraged in knowing that your mistakes cannot expel the love of Christ, because, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, He died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Absolutely nothing has changed!
Growth Comes through God,
One of the most overlooked friendships in the Bible can be found in Exodus 18. Jethro, a shepherd and high priest of Midian, welcomed a stranger running from the authorities after that stranger murdered an Egyptian. (Ex 2:12)
He had wandered the desert with no direction and a confused sense of who he was. This stranger, Moses, did not feel fit to be a part of Pharaoh’s household, nor of any Hebrew house. He was lost. But God knew exactly where to meet him. Heaven orchestrated that day Moses found himself at hospitality of the table of Jethro, which later unfolded into 40 years of life with the Midianites. In those four decades Moses had spent in Midian, he discovered God through the lives of Jethro’s family (which is considerably unique due to the fact that most Midianites were generally pagans). He met Adonai, and Adonai met Moses at a mountain in one of the most profound ways documented in the Bible.
Prior to that event, Jethro gave his daughter Zipporah’s hand in marriage to Moses. He gave him hope and a second chance at life as a shepherd of his flock before Moses returned to Egypt after being called by God to do so, and the story continues into the great story of how the Israelites escaped the chains of Pharaoh. Jethro’s influence and involvement in Moses’ mission was richly encouraging. In Exodus 18:9-12, it says. Jethro rejoiced for all the good which the Lord had done for Israel, whom He had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.
And Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh, and who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods; for in the very thing in which they behaved proudly, He was above them.”
God uses families to fulfill His purpose. In this chapter, Jethro expressed his delight to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians. Jethro also recommended to Moses to delegate a lot of his tasks to others so Moses could focus his efforts on jobs only he could do.
God sends us people to illuminate our understanding of the Kingdom.
Through a period of vulnerability, God brings people into our lives to speak purpose, courage, healing, and blessing. When we’re walking through the wilderness alone, running away from our shameful past, God meets us perfectly with the right people that can reach right through us. Bob Goff once wrote, “Sometimes when we’re looking for an answer, God sends us a friend.” God makes up for the gaps in our heart with the most dazzling and unexpected people. Now, when was the last time you recognized someone whose impact came not because they met your expectation but your need?
Jethro and Moses’ relationship was built on their devotion to God. Their story is evidence of how building a foundation in ministry begins with family. Although they may have had differences, Moses continued sharing his testimony about the wonderful works he had witnessed God do. Jethro also stayed faithful in advising Moses in his mission.
Dynamic relationships in ministry help us feel good about our work and make the pressing moments worthwhile.
And God sends us people all the time to give us companionship in ministry. So, next time you find yourself clamming up when life begins to get tough, always remember that God sees our struggle, He sees our need, and a lot of times He sends people to meet us, to share in our burden. Together, we can become spectacular in our tasks the way God calls us to be through His providence and guidance. He has graced us for a glorious future, so your present and your future are not unknown to God.
Seek out a fresh and godly perspective, stay authentic and open, because beyond every desert-like situation is a soul that leads and walks with us closer to home. .
Keep on Believing,
Serving in ministry can be a difficult task, especially since each person who is serving also has their own challenges to overcome. In particular, pastors have enormous responsibilities to ensure that people are engaged with the Spirit of God and that they feel that they are being cared for. It is therefore important to appreciate and lift up those serving in ministry. The Apostle Paul’s heartening letter to the Colossians, for example, can be used to encourage those of you who serve in ministry and in turn encourage others who serve.
There are many Biblical examples to encourage pastors, especially in Paul’s letters. In the book of Colossians, Paul writes a message of love and friendship, warning them against false prophets, and making clear whom Jesus really is. He starts off by sincerely greeting the Colossians, “peace be to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!” (1:1-2), He then goes on to thank them for their faith and love, also saying that the church in Rome is “constantly praying for you” (1:3-9). Not only is praying for those in ministry important, but letting them know that you are doing so really encourages them. Pastors are especially important to pray for since people see their lives and it can dictate someone’s faith. Therefore, pastors need to be encouraged too. Thank them for their faith and love, and tell them you are praying for them.
There are often tough times within families, so encouragement in ministry for families is also important. Paul continues in his letter to the Colossians by praying that, even through times of suffering, their obedience and knowledge in God will continue to grow, “that you may bring joy to His heart by bearing genuine Christian fruit, and that your knowledge of God may grow yet deeper” (1:9-12). This is uplifting for both pastors and families. It is important to be sensitive in times of suffering, so showing grace and compassion is key.
There are many concerns in pastoral ministry, including, in some instances, prosecution. Paul actually wrote the letter to the Colossians in prison and still uses that to proclaim Christ’s glory to all people (1:24-29). Other concerns may simply be for people’s faith. Paul also writes how “deep is my anxiety for you” for the Colossians and Laodiceans to know Christ, and, also, “may your spiritual experience become richer.” This is encouraging, since Paul demonstrates a deep concern for the Colossian church to grow within.
Another way Paul encourages the Colossians is by sending greetings from fellow Christians in Rome (4:10-14). He shows that there are many people supporting them. We can also show that there is large support for the people in our ministry and their families. Paul not only states their names but also briefly shares who they are and that they have their full support and prayers. He sends his own greetings as well and tells them to show the letters to as many people as possible (4:15-17).
If you yourself have been encouraged by something or someone, why not spread that encouragement? Perhaps you have a short testimony to share in encouragement.
Listening to voices that come from within isn’t always a bad thing. There are some voices one should never listen to and there are others that we should be seeking to hear. Each day, as pastors and ministers of God, we have major decisions to make and they aren’t always the easiest to make. Sometimes we are seeking God’s voice in all the wrong places though. From a personal standpoint, I have often struggled with discerning between God’s voice and the voice of others. I have prayed, asking Him to speak to me, seeking even the smallest glimpse of His voice to no avail, and it can be difficult to patiently wait for Him to speak. God doesn’t always speak to us in the biggest way though; in fact, He often uses small insignificant methods to bring us a significant message.
One of the smallest ways God speaks to us is through silence. If you remember, when Elijah was on the mountain, God chose to speak not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but in the gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:11-13). Silence may seem insignificant, but God can use a few silent moments to speak amazing messages of love and guidance. As a minister of God, embracing a few silent moments of listening for His voice often seems impossible because our daily routine requires so much from us, but we need those silent moments to re-establish a connection with God. Knowing that God often uses moments of silence to speak to our hearts can help us realize just how much God desires to speak to us. I know what you’re thinking, “I really don’t have the time for something like this.” The reality is that we need silence, even if it is just a brief few moments a day.
There are moments each day, as pastors, that we need to set aside for others because that is part of why we serve as ministers, but there are also times in which we need to set time aside for our own personal growth in God. Hearing God’s voice is unique to each situation we face in this life and on our journey. Truthfully, we need to receive His guidance for ourselves as much as we need to receive His guidance for those that we shepherd in the ministry. Without seeking that guidance for ourselves, we cannot and should not offer guidance to others that seek it from us. The importance of making time for God for ourselves could mean the difference between providing helpful direction or hurtful oversight. Scripture provides us with examples of this in numerous passages; when those leading provided direction that was not centered on God, the result was disaster. On the other hand, when direction was given by those who were truly seeking to grow in their own relationship with God, the result was miraculous.
There is a word of caution though, hearing God’s voice is a very special experience but can sometimes be mistaken for something else completely. Often we desire something so much that we force ourselves into believing God is speaking to us, when in reality it is just our own desires getting the best of us. Other times, we simply don’t know what to listen for and give man the credit for what God has spoken.
If you remember the story of Samuel, God called him four times before he understood what was actually taking place. As God spoke, young Samuel continually went to the priest Eli wondering what he wanted. Even Eli had to stop and think for a moment to realize it was God speaking to the boy (1 Samuel 3).
Don’t be discouraged by the struggle you have been facing while searching for God’s voice in your life and in your ministry. Do as Samuel did and say, “Speak, for your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:10b ESV). In time, dear pastor, if you are faithful, the answers will be revealed to you. Remember to seek Him in prayer, through the Scriptures, and through the godly people you look up to in your life. Once you do, you will learn more quickly what His voice sounds like.
Times of Refreshing come from the Lord,
Every now and then as ministers of the gospel of our God, we are overwhelmed with the needs of the people we pastor; whether spiritual or physical needs. The genuine shepherd of God’s flock sometimes feels as though he is unable to meet the needs of these people and a number of times, disillusionment and discouragement is likely to set in. We will attempt to see why this happens and how you can be encouraged to keep being a servant of God even when these moments of lowness come.
One of the best examples of overcoming fear in the Bible can be discovered from the judge of God’s people; Gideon. (Judges 6:11-16). This mighty general of God had no idea he could be used by God to bring deliverance from the hands of the Midianites. As far as he was concerned, he was a shallow and little man who could not amount to anything significant before God or the people. You might be overwhelmed by the huge responsibility of managing the spiritual affairs of your congregation but like Gideon, the Lord calls you a mighty man of valor.
Embracing your calling is a very important factor to consider if you must rise above the feeling of inadequacy in gifting or knowledge as a minister of the Gospel. This is what we mean; you must be conscious and convinced of your specific call and assignment as given to you by God. More often than not, we feel small in the eyes of other ministers who we consider “highly anointed.” This ought not to be so as we are all members of the same body of Christ and no member of this body is insignificant. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth showed this clearly (1 Cor 12:12). When you therefore understand that you are just as relevant to the body of Christ in that seemingly small role you play as a church minister, you will be encouraged even if you do not seem to be doing as much as the minister who works in miracles and probably has more charisma than you do. This does not mean you shouldn’t offer great graces to other ministers, but you do not have to feel inadequate before the Spirit of God anoints you for greater works.
Feeling inadequate in ministry is part of being a genuine minister of God. You are definitely going to feel “small” when you see the pains and struggles your members go through if you are a true shepherd. So if you feel this way, it is the feeling of a true minister. My senior pastor told me I would have to begin to handle certain aspects of the ministry and I could hardly eat or sleep that night as I got home after the meeting because he ministers in such a powerful way that brings strong manifestations of the Spirit and miracles; but I remember he mentioned something to me when I told him in clear terms that I could hardly fit into his shoes; he told me that this was the exact heart that God required in the vessels he uses. I have had to minister a few times for my senior pastor and I have seen similar graces in manifestation. Jesus told the Apostle Paul in a moment of weakness; “My grace is sufficient for thee…” (2 Cor 12:9). In the end, a word of encouragement for pastors is that ministry is purely a work of grace.
From Moses; leading the old testament church in the wilderness to the last minister that God will call, all ministry leaders have and will at some point in their lives feel inadequate but they must at each point in their lives, look at the faithfulness of God in the lives of someone else who has gone ahead of them and believe that the same God who was able to keep this minister will also finish the work he has started with them (2 Tim 1:12). You must also ensure that you are secured in your call. Let no man despise thy youth (Titus 2:15). If the Lord is behind your call, then he will surely back it up. You must not allow the opinions of men dictate to you what your ministry style and leadership should be like. Remember the blueprint and plan belongs to God who called you. Your purpose is to build according to the pattern he showed you when he called you.
Here is a word of caution to ministers; be reminded that Satan takes advantage of ministers who allow their emotions to get the better of them. He further complicates this by trying to bring in depression and discouragement so they can release the assignment of God or begin to take it with levity; not expecting anything to happen in the lives of their flocks. In a bid to rise above these dark situations, you might need to resist the devil and reassure yourself of the provisions of God for the ministry that he has committed into your hands.
Let Christ Sustain You Today,
As pastors, there are times when we struggle. We struggle with hurt, pain, frustration, temptation. But one of the most interesting struggles we face is often in getting support from those we report to or, worse yet, from our congregation in general. It can be difficult to jump through all the hoops and give a proper response when we face these types of struggles. Are there any suggestions or tips out there that help us reach our full potential in ministry while having to navigate through these often frustrating channels?
The answer to that is a resounding “yes”. This article will address the topic of gaining support in ministry. Hopefully, it will also help us in the area of working well with others in ministry.
The first piece of advice is imperative if we are going to survive in pastoral ministry. Never stop embracing your calling. Your original call to ministry was not by a board of men or women or by a supervisory board of any type. At some point, you felt a divine calling from Heaven to enter into the most rewarding, most frustrating, most beautiful, most painful calling that has ever existed. You felt called to pastoral ministry. You may have resisted at first, but eventually the Holy Spirit won out. And when He did, you vowed to serve Him and to never look back. He never promised a rose garden. He never promised it would always be sunshine. But He did promise a satisfaction and a joy that can only come from serving Him. Live your life with a calling. It’s important to keep embracing that. And when you deal with a difficult board or a stubborn congregation, go back to the last soul that received Jesus as a result of God’s empowering of your ministry. And hold on to that moment. Tightly.
Secondly, conduct a fierce evaluation of yourself. The Psalmist called on God to search him and know his heart and to test his thoughts. You are standing before a congregation or a board asking for a sweeping change and you are meeting resistance. But before you get mad at them, evaluate why you are asking for the change. Is it because you believe that God is leading in this new proposal and that it will transform your community for Him? Or is it because you want to make a name for yourself? Or because you are in competition with a colleague in ministry whose church seems to be doing better than yours? Now, that may not be the case at all, and usually, it is not. But sometimes it does happen. Check your heart. Check your motivation. If it is from the Lord, then press on. If not, then it’s time to hit your knees in prayer. What is God really doing in all this?
But as mentioned earlier, usually we are moving a particular direction because it is Spirit led and we are having difficulty with a group of people who are not accepting change in ministry. What do we do? One thing is to realize that God may not have them on the same page as you for a reason. Perhaps it’s a lesson in humility and God is using this to teach you about working well with others in ministry even when they don’t want to work well with you.
You will never find a church where everyone is going to fall in lockstep with you on all ideas, and it’s probably not healthy if you did. God made us different for a reason. He uses the different personalities in a church setting so that the body of Christ can reach as many people as possible.
It also could be that it’s God trying to teach the congregation something. They stand against you on something and believe they are standing on principle. But much later, something happens that God uses to teach them that their pastor was right. It affirms your leadership and makes them more willing to follow you.
How do we gain support in ministry? By remembering that a congregation or board that resists you is not the enemy. They love Jesus just like you do. And they look to you to be an example of unconditional love. So show it to them. Stand your ground when you need to but always do it in love. Never get mad. Remember your calling. You are a shepherd serving the Shepherd. And they are your flock.
And remember, it’s a divine calling!
They can be difficult but not impossible
Barnabas wanted to take John Mark. Paul wanted to leave him. They had a huge fight about it. The first missionary team to the Gentiles didn’t even make it to their second journey without falling out. Differing opinions often create difficult barriers. Failing relationships. Increased stress. Feelings of inadequacy. Preachers, if we’re not careful, we’ll slide down that slippery slope, and before we know it, we’ve reached the bottom, and we start wondering how we’ll ever get back to the top. Breaking through barriers in ministry can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.
Faced with a similar situation, feeling abandoned and betrayed by a close friend, I had plenty of people who offered advice. “If it were me…” everyone said. I didn’t know who to listen to and who not to listen to. They all wanted to opine about my John Mark, but I didn’t need their opinion about John Mark.
So what did I do? Running the risk of sounding like a Barnabas, can I give you some encouragement in the ministry? Take it with a Gibraltar of salt, but here’s what I did.
I found peace. Finding peace in your ministry gives you the liberty to concentrate but not isolate yourself from others. If you look more at your ministry and less at everyone else’s, you’ll realize what works for you might not be the same thing that works for them. One of the biggest challenges I faced early in my ministry was trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be. I equated the approval of other pastors with God’s approval. I later came to realize that seeking other pastors’ approval created undue pressure and stress for my ministry.
Baseball manager, Joe Torre, once described future Hall-of-Famer Derek Jeter as being, “comfortable in his own skin.” He knows who he is and he’s going to be the best him he can be. Finding that kind of peace will break down barriers that you might not have ever even noticed before.
Big or small, in growth or decline, being attacked or being protected; we all have to come to grips with the ministry that the Lord has given us. Not the ministry that He gave anyone else. Do like Paul told Archippus in Colossians 4:17. He told him to take heed to the ministry that he had received in the Lord and to “fulfill it.”
Finding that peace gives us the grace to fulfill our ministry whether we follow someone else’s advice or whether we don’t.
I didn’t stop there though. Besides finding peace in my ministry, I stood firm in my faith. A very wise pastor taught me a lesson that I never want to forget. Whenever we’ve got a tough decision, we go to God and ask for wisdom. Then when it comes time to make the decision, what do we do?
We don’t trust that our Heavenly Father has already answered our prayer. We don’t trust that after praying, He gave us all the faculties and decision-making skills that we would need. We live in fear of making the wrong decision.
Standing firm in your faith doesn’t mean being stubborn. It proves the object of that faith—the Almighty God. Stubbornness is determining not to change our attitude, especially in spite of good reasons to do so, while standing firm in your faith is taking an Abrahamic stance like we see Paul describing in Romans 4:20-21.
“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”
When we stand firm, we declare that though our eyes tell us a different story, we have evidence that no one can see (Heb 11:1). It gives us the strength and spiritual stamina to tear down that wall boulder by seemingly immovable boulder. Most of the time, relational walls don’t get built in a day. They don’t get demolished that quickly either.
It had taken years before Paul called for John Mark. I’ve got no doubt that Paul prayed and asked God for wisdom regarding his brother and former team member. When he had peace, and when he stood firm in his faith, he broke down that wall.
In 2 Timothy 4:11, we hear Paul longing to see Mark one more time, calling him “profitable to me for the ministry.” The very person whose presence once divided the best of friends suddenly becomes sought after again. That teaches me that even the Apostle Paul doubted himself—that the Apostle Paul struggled with the exact same things that you and I struggle with. In the end, though, he recognized the need for forgiveness and humility. He knew that there had been some big roadblocks put up over the years, and he did everything he could to break them down.
Although it wasn’t easy for Paul, he did it. It might not be easy for you, but with peace and perseverance, you can do it. Just remember this—breaking through barriers in ministry can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.
God is still Working,
Rev. Michael Andrzejewski
We all have a purpose in this life, whether we want to have one or not. Most of the time human nature compels us to constantly look for ways to improve ourselves, keeping us from that purpose. The world around us forces us to do this. Our children are forced to spend hours at school each day only to come home to even more hours of homework or extracurricular activities. In order to provide for them and our loved ones we are forced to strive with everything we are to pursue BUILDing a career that will financially support them, and us, for that matter. When we finally get to that point in which we feel we can slow down a bit, something happens. We are forced to move in another direction, and our natural response is to put our pursuit for a purpose on hold.
Where am I going with this, you may ask?
Well, I’m attempting to point out that life simply gets in the way of our purpose sometimes, and it is the same with any ministry. It’s simple, a life needs a purpose, and a ministry needs direction, and the craziness that the world has thrust upon us often keeps us from embracing either. There is a solution though.
That solution is to create something that will remind us of that purpose, that direction, that we all need in life.
Creating a personal mission or vision statement can help you when it comes to setting goals and BUILDing something that you can think back on as you live your life and BUILD your ministry. The power that lies within something like that is immeasurable and more effective than you will ever really know.
BUILDing a vision statement can lead you to the focused life or ministry that you have wanted from the beginning. When the world attempts to direct your path away from your purpose in life and in your ministry, a statement like this can bring your heart and your mind back into focus. It will help you weed out the distractions of the world and give you direction and leading.
Here are a few things that will help you BUILD your vision statement.
Begin to Pray. Ask God to direct your path.
This will help you determine what you will be able to handle.
It will also give you a few ideas on how to start.
Our Life or Ministry needs direction in order for us to be effective. (Prov. 20:18)
Understand the need for change in the world.
Know where you want your life or ministry to take you.
If we lack vision and focus, the people we minister to will fall. (Prov. 29:18)
Identify your passions. What do you feel you can change?
This will help you narrow down the possibilities and give you specific values to pursue in Life or in your ministry.
The need is always there, finding it is the problem. (Isa. 41:17)
Look for a scriptural foundation that will help you BUILD your platform.
Often you can adapt a scripture verse to fit your vision statement.
The word of God is living and active, it is sharper than any two edged sword. (Heb 4:12).
Define your purpose. How do you change what you feel needs to be changed?
Create a few rough drafts and share them with a few people that share your passions.
Gather feedback and then move forward with a statement that will represent your life or ministry.
But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. (Ex. 9:16).
Once you have taken all of these into consideration you can BUILD a vision statement that will fully represent what you are passionate about or what you want your ministry and life to focus on.
As you seek to BUILD this vision it will be important to continually seek the Lord in prayer.
Doing this will help you create something that will represent you or your ministry, but it will also bring God the glory. It will give you a foundation to BUILD upon and something to look back on and evaluate as you go through life and serve in your respective ministry.
Your vision statement doesn’t need to be too long, in fact many are only a few sentences long. What matters the most is that it communicates everything that you are or desire to be while turning your focus back toward God’s plan and purpose for you. If eventually you feel the need for change again and that your life needs a ‘new’ purpose or that your ministry needs ‘new’ direction,
BUILDing a ‘new’ vision statement may be just what you need to find your focus again.
Start at the beginning and simply ask “Lord, give me a new direction; guide my path so that my desires and vision align with what you have in store for me.” He will give you the answers you seek and help you BUILD a focused life and a focused ministry once more.
Times of Refreshing Come from the Lord,
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Have you ever struggled in your ministry? There are times when each of us will, and it won’t be easy. Ministry is not an easy task by any means, and it is our hope that we can offer you, our readers, a few resources to use in your everyday ministries. The content in this little eBook is meant to be a small part of that.