Thursday, 14 November 2013 09:51

At The End of the Rope!

Written by Dr. Joe Pool

A word from Pastor Tim - Have you ever felt like you were near the end of your rope?  Be encouraged by the testimony of this faithful pastor.

President Franklin Roosevelt was credited with saying, "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."  About three months ago I felt like I was near the end of my rope, as a pastor, and I wasn't tying any knots!  But, God changed all that.

As stated, this experience began about three months ago.  I was facing several challenges. Soon I will be seventy years old.  I was beginning to doubt myself because of my age.  I felt there was no enthusiasm in my preaching.  Also, I have been the pastor of my current church for twelve years.  I was questioning whether I had lost my effectiveness. 

Several challenges arose in my church that complicated things.  I had hoped that a “Lay Renewal Weekend,” which we conducted last spring, might bring new life to our church.  One consequence of the lay renewal was that our music director and youth minister resigned.  I was wondering what would come of these resignations.  This caused a good bit of discussion among our deacons.  I assured the deacons that I was not planning to leave, as the other staff had done.

In light of my age and the issues we faced I spent much of the summer pondering what I should do.  On top of this I had proposed an idea to our lay leaders, which was quickly rejected.  This rejection left me discouraged and feeling down.  This also caused me to doubt my leadership. 

In response to my feelings of rejection, God spoke to me while I was resting in my recliner the next afternoon.  The Lord asked me if I would reject my children if they did not agree with me.  The obvious answer is no.  Even so, God reminded me that He did not reject us and I should not reject His children, just because they disagree with me.

In the midst of these things, God began to work.  First, He reminded me of what a fellow teacher told me when I first started teaching school in 1968. The teacher said, "When you close your classroom door, you're teaching in a one-room school house."  Of course, that isn't true anymore in school systems, but the implication is that the teacher is totally responsible for the success of his students.  When God reminded me of that teacher's statement, I realized that my future depended on my response to God's Holy Spirit!

God’s work, in my life, was like a handoff from the quarterback in a football game.  I ran with it!  Then, the most amazing things started happening.  A number of people from our community began visiting our services and taking an active part in our church.  These people showed up without being invited.  Imagine that! 

The need for a worship leader was filled as one of our deacons began leading the music.  The deacon had a sensitive and responsive heart to the needs of the church.  Our people responded to this attitude.

The youth leadership was filled as two couples volunteered to work with the youth.  Youth attendance improved.  During this time the youth building was completely remodeled.

During this experience my preaching was more like it was twenty years ago.  I was excited about preaching again!  It was fun again!

I recently attended a Shepherd’s Connection retreat, for pastors and wives, in Shreveport. Many of those who attended were where I had been.  My wife enjoyed the fellowship with pastors' wives who needed understanding hearts. I was happy to share my story with others.  My life has been renewed.  I know God is using me and will continue to do so!