Several years ago Dr. Paul Meier, Dr. Robert Hemfelt, and Frank Minirth wrote a book entitled, We are Driven: the Compulsive Behaviors America Applauds! The book addresses the driven mentality that afflicts Americans. I experienced this first hand on a mission trip to Mexico. Our church in Alabama went to Matamoros, Mexico to build a church.
Discouragement comes with the territory for ministry leaders. Unmet goals, putting out fires, staff issues, displeasing people, and general tiredness all contribute to discouragement. When it weighs us down, how can we dig out? The life of the prophet Elijah gives us hope.
“He who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he who governs as he who serves…I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:24-30).
Serving people. What a novel concept!
Nothing defines you, pastor, like your willingness to get your hands dirty, to do menial jobs, to help sweep the floor or serve the iced tea or clean up afterwards.
This is a call for pastors to be servants. This is not a new or strange idea, to be sure. After all, our Lord said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master” (Matthew 10:24).
“Wait on the Lord. Be strong. Let your heart take courage. Yes, wait on the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)
Saturday, a pastor texted to ask for prayer. He has been without a church for a year now and has exhausted all his savings. The opportunities to preach have been few and far between, and he has been unsuccessful in finding secular work.
My heart goes out to him and I’m praying diligently for him.
Sunday, a friend asked for prayer for her pastor husband. He’s discouraged and would like the Lord to open up some new place of service.
Most of us have been there at one time or other.
What a message, “He knows!” In several locations, the Bible assures us that God knows. There are other references, but I will mention only three. “Are not two sparrows sold for a cooper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.” (Matt. 10:29) In the very next verse Jesus repeats the same concept, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matt. 10:30) The Psalmist expressed a similar thought, “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.” (Ps. 147:4)
Do you ever feel as if you are under relentless attack? These attacks could be from Satan or Satan’s emissaries. Let’s be honest, sometimes Satan uses enemies within the church. Ezra faced such attacks. Remember Ezra’s task was to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. As he undertook this task he came under attack. Consider the relentless nature of the attacks he faced.
How are you living proactively? Specifically, in what ways? It seems the best way to answer this question is to share a definition so that we’re all on the same page. One definition states: the “action to control a situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened.” As pastors are we controlling the situation or merely responding to it?
Pastor Tim’s note: On this Mother’s Day, let us pay honor to all mothers and especially be aware of the unique burdens placed on pastors’ wives.
“What are these wounds? I was wounded in the house of my friends.” (Zechariah 13:6).
We live in a world that bombards us with incessant visual stimuli and noise. It’s easy to become addicted to noise without realizing it. We often turn the radio on in the car when we drive. We leave the TV on, even though we aren’t watching it. And our cell phones are seldom silenced. Not only do we live in a noisy world, but we live in a busy one as well. Our time saving devices (cell phones, computers, faster internet connections) relentlessly remind us that we should get more done in less time so that we have more time to get even more done. As a result we are addicted not only to noise but to hurry. John Ortberg says that, “Hurry is not just a disordered schedule. Hurry is a disordered heart.” So, what do we do?
I recently read Andy Stanley’s book, Visioneering (God’s blueprint for developing and maintaining personal vision). I recommend the book, as you consider vision casting. The book is worth the read, just to get to chapter seventeen. In this chapter Andy discusses distractions.
This past Sunday a lady walked up to me after the morning service and said, “Thanks for the sermon.” That simple statement was like extra frosting on a cake, a cherry on a hot fudge sundae. Pastors need to hear encouraging words. Why?
Encouraging words do just that, they encourage. All of us need encouragement. Without it the well soon runs dry.
I love principles. Perhaps this is one reason I spend so much time reading Proverbs. Principles aren’t always “guaranteed,” but they are often proven by time and experience.
Principles can help us learn from one another. We can benefit from another person’s experience.
Here are a few principles of ministry I’ve experienced:
Mondays are not usually great days. I mean, only the sickest of optimists looks forward to Monday morning, right? And, for pastors, Mondays have special import. Mondays, you see, are the number one day that pastors resign. Why, you ask? Well, they were hoping Sunday would turn everything around and it didn't.
Pastors and church leaders are all too familiar with those monthly church business conferences that can be mind-numbingly boring at times and at other times can rip open a fellowship of believers and leave it in shreds. Their unpredictability has caused many a church leader to look for ways to dispense with them, everything from simply forgetting to have them to amending the constitution and by-laws to say the church will have only quarterly or annual conferences to outright canceling them altogether.
Last month I attended the Louisiana Baptist Evangelism conference. At the conference I heard a sermon that was encouraging and convicting to me. This sermon was about our attitude toward people.
Evangelist Phil Waldrep preached from the neglected passage in Rom. 16. In this passage Paul sends greetings to various people with whom he was associated. Almost half of the chapter was devoted to “greeting” these people. To be honest, the passage is somewhat monotonous to read. Bro. Phil shared three truths that made this passage come alive.