In recent weeks the Shepherds Connection published a series of articles on depression. Depression is often identified with feelings of hopelessness. Also, depression frequently causes a person to question the value of life. Questions such as, “Why am I doing this” float through the mind?
The past several weeks The Shepherd’s Connection has posted articles about depression. Depression is real, but there is hope beyond depression. In fact, there are a number of experiences (termination, burnout, conflict, even holidays, etc.) we face in ministry, which might be viewed as ministry killers. Many people see this with depression. That is absolutely not true.
Three of the hardest words for a pastor to verbalize are the words, “I am Depressed.” These words are like cotton in the mouth. They are hard to verbalize.
Pastor, have you ever stopped to think of all the “stuff” your people have been through before you arrived. This “stuff” affects their church behavior and the extent to which they will follow/not follow you. Their behavior does not mean they are bad people. It means they are carrying a lot of “stuff” (baggage) that must be considered as you work with them.
While sorting through my mail today the first thing I noticed was Outreach magazine. This issue was devoted to the 100 Fastest-Growing Churches in America. This issue always intrigues me. The stories of these churches fascinate me. To read about churches running 20,000-25,000 in attendance is amazing. I marvel at these churches, their pastors, and the ministry they perform.
see part of my role as a senior leader as a developer of other leaders. In church terms, as much as I am called to make disciples, I am called to disciple disciple-makers.
I take this role seriously. I am consistently thinking how I can encourage people around me to be better at what they do. Several years ago, with another staff member - someone who once worked with me - mentioned my intentionality in developing leaders on his blog.
Here’s my theory on the subject.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away. The place where we built our home, two years ago, has a number of roots that play havoc with a lawn mower. I have been working diligently to remove these enemies. A few days ago I encountered some roots that got the best of me. I just walked away.
What would you think if you met a chef who would not eat his own cooking? What about a surgeon who would not commit his care to a young person he had trained? What about a builder who would not live in a house he constructed? What about a pastor who is not a worshipper?
Do you sometimes go home on Sundays feeling emotionally spent? Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, but it sure isn’t true for pastors. Take yesterday for instance. I administered a Sunday school at 9:00, drove to a speaking engagement and preached at 11:00, did a refresher course for Sunday school teachers at 5:00, and spoke for 45 minutes in a worship service last night. These activities were in addition to family activities and other responsibilities.
Several times in recent months, I have shared with you the lessons I’ve learned from our colt. This relationship is about to change since the colt is ready to be weaned from his mother, and will be leaving us soon. Please allow me one more story.