Feeling Down in the Ministry

Non-preachers often don’t realize the roller-coaster of ministry.  Due to the exacting nature of ministry – giving out, being buffeted spiritually, etc. – we are all prone to repeated discouragement.  Today as you press on through another Sunday, take stock of the realities of ministry:

Discouragements are par for the course.  A preacher facing discouragement is normal.  One who claims to never get discouraged is a cause for concern.  Remember that if you’re feeling down today, or tomorrow, so are hundreds, maybe thousands of other preachers around the globe.  You are not alone.

God has gifted, prepared and used you.  Look back and spiritually reminisce over those times when God’s gifts have been clear.  Remember the blessing of training received, both formally and informally.  Thank God for the example of past mentors, prayer partners, etc.  Review your file of encouraging notes and emails.

Remember the standard.  It is tempting to try to, or to feel pressured to, live up to the standards of someone else.  Perhaps the previous pastor, or a famous preacher, or a personal ministry hero of yours.  God wants each of us to trust Him and give the best that we can.  Let others inspire, but not pressure.

Remember who to please.  It is not possible to keep everyone happy all the time.  You may preach sensitively and yet tread on toes nonetheless.  We are not called to a ministry of plate spinning where each plate is the emotional happiness of each person around us.  We are called to live a life of radical love for the Lord, where our desire is to please Him in what we do and why we do it.

What else would you add for the sake of fellow preachers who may be feeling discouraged today?

One thought on “Feeling Down in the Ministry

  1. First, don’t fall prey to the numbers game. For several years, I got discouraged when our church’s raw data (attendance and offering) were down. Sometimes it still happens–but now I nip it in the bud much sooner. Remember that success is to be defined by life change, not how many butts are in your seats.

    Second, God really enjoys using what we think, well, sucks. It’s really tempting to judge our preaching on our delivery, how we felt about the message, etc. I’ve found that God has used some of my “stinkers” more than the ones I thought were a grand slam.

    Finally, stay near the cross. You can’t help but feel encouraged when you are at the foot of the cross.

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