Friday, 22 September 2017 10:03

Preparing for the Storms of Life

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“…that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.” 

As a minister, are you preparing for the challenges you will face? Are you living a proactive life? Living a proactively means preparing in advance for difficulties. This concept sounds driven by negativity, but it’s not. If you’re looking for problems before they occur then you’re viewing the proactive lifestyle the wrong way. The best way to view the proactive lifestyle is to use a comparison. Each year health professionals encourage getting a flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is a proactive step against a dangerous disease.

Recently my wife and I received a vaccination against Shingles. My father and brother each battled cancer. They also battled with Shingles while fighting cancer. If you have witnessed anyone battling Shingles you wouldn’t want to encounter this disease. Such knowledge promotes a proactive lifestyle.

As ministers, it is a fact of life that we will face challenges. I am reminded of Paul’s challenges, as recorded in II Cor. 1:8-10. “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us.” We may not face the severity of Paul’s challenges but we face challenges nonetheless. This raises the question of a proactive lifestyle. How do we develop such a lifestyle?

The best way for me to explain a proactive lifestyle is to recommend a resource. Michael Todd Wilson and Brad Hoffmann have written an excellent book, Preventing Ministry Failure. These men discuss seven foundation stones for a healthy ministry.

Intimacy

  • Calling
  • Stress management
  • Boundaries
  • Re-creation
  • People skills
  • Leadership skills

If you address such issues you grow as a person and also initiate a proactive lifestyle. You prepare for challenges before they come. Facing challenges is not a matter of “if” but “when” for the minister. Serving in ministry is not a sprint that you finish overnight. Ministry is a marathon that, hopefully, will last for a lifetime. According to reports approximately 1,000-1,500 ministers leave the ministry every month. This is heart breaking to observe, but it also evokes compassion for the individuals who suffer through the pain.

The time to prepare for adversity is before it strikes. When hurricanes approach coastal areas, officials warn people to prepare in advance. Securing water, batteries, food items, and preparing your home are essential activities. Wise people prepare! As a young preacher boy no one ever warned me to prepare for the storms of ministry. I negotiated them as they came. This makes negotiation more difficult. My prayer, fellow minister, is that you would prepare now.

Editor’s note: We first shared this article with you five years ago. In light of the hurricanes striking the U.S. and the tragic earthquake that hit Mexico, we thought it was a good reminder to keep not only our homes and churches prepared, but also ourselves so that we are able to serve Him whenever needed. 

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