We have looked at feedback, both immediate and long-term. We have considered ministry drain and unhelpful comparisons. Here are three more sources of discouragement:
8. Lack of Dream Schedule. Many preachers wish they had a better preparation schedule. Many preachers work another job through the week and are restricted to time grabbed in the early morning, late at night, minutes snatched here and there. If only I had more time to fully prepare! But then “full-time” preachers have their time restricted too: pastoral emergencies, family crises, hospital visits, counseling appointments, committee meetings, etc. We can all plan our schedule, and perhaps many of us could plan a little bit better than we do, but some things will mess with the best of plans. Consider starting preparation earlier, tweak your time management skills, but remember that we preach to people in a less than ideal world. We preach from experience, for our preparation is done in a less than ideal world too!
9. Spiritual Attack. We can’t blame the enemy for everything, but it would be naïve to not recognize a spiritual warfare element in any ministry. The enemy would much rather have a discouraged preacher than a faith-filled, praying, passionate preacher! Surely every category should drive us to prayer, but surely this one calls us to our knees so that we can stand firm and resist the devil.
10. Non-Preaching Issues. Perhaps work is tough, parenting is a struggle, marriage is tense, other ministry is hurting, health issues have emerged. Non-preaching issues may improve your preaching in terms of empathy, relevance, vulnerability etc. But non-preaching issues may add to discouragement in preaching – a time when you give of yourself and personal vulnerability comes to the surface.
Another post to come . . . all in honor of the discouraged preacher.