Several months ago I spoke with a man who has a counseling ministry for ministers. I asked what he perceives to be the greatest challenge faced by ministers. I expected him to say tradition, conflict, or challenges that arise in the institutional church setting. He answered without hesitation,
"Isolation is a minister’s greatest challenge."
How ironic, ministers are with people every day. Ministers are in the middle of crowds several times a week. However, isolation was identified as a major challenge.
This challenge has been around since New Testament days. The apostle Paul faced this menacing challenge. In II Tim. 4 we read about Paul’s approaching death. He reminisces about his ministry and some of the challenges he had faced. He mentions isolation, not by name but by experience. Paul said
"Demas has forsaken me …and has departed for Thessalonica-Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia (10)…Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm (14)…no one stood with me, but all forsook me (16)."
Paul asked Timothy to come "and bring (Mark) with him (11)…bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come ---and the books, especially the parchments (13)."
Paul felt isolated. He wanted to be encouraged by Timothy’s presence and he wanted to see Mark once again.
Paul withstood many challenges in his life and he desired to be with those he loved. He wanted to be encouraged and supported. He wanted to be with people who loved and supported him.
Why do ministers face isolation? The reasons are many: circumstances, people’s expectations, the inherent loneliness of leadership, competition between churches, time demands, fear of admitting personal needs, pride, and the like. Regardless of the cause, the truth is: ministers face a devastating sense of isolation and loneliness.
In visiting our web site, and the ministry it represents, we want you to understand the goal of this ministry is to combat isolation for those who serve in ministry. Our desire is to connect ministers and their spouses to others who serve in ministry, share growth experiences, encouragement, and support that we might be healthy in our service to Jesus Christ.