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It’s a Dangerous Calling and You Can Help

Church Leaders

      

There are days when your minister loves his calling. He is absolutely convinced he has the best job in the world. Imagine spending hours studying God’s Word, expressing the wisdom he has discovered, extending God’s undeserved grace, transforming his city, molding tomorrow’s leaders, and orchestrating the worship of God. And atop all this, he gets paid for doing so. However, there are also days when he wants to retire, run, or roll-over into a fetal position. There is no doubt about it, there are seasons of life when your loving, faithful, and smiling minister feels like he is falling apart. Why?

  • It could be his personal sin. He is the professional who studies and teaches the Father’s holy law and knows His goodness. More than anyone, he knows his own shortcomings. He would tell you his struggles, but his position requires him to at least look holy.
  • Or consider the unnecessary struggles in the church. He enlisted in the Lord’s Army to fight the world, the flesh, and the devil. It never crossed his mind that he would encounter it in the ranks.
  • Then there is the weight of always being on-call. He is always available because he wants to be available to minister in a moment of need. He can’t “leave his work at the office.”
  • You have family problems? So does he. He is not always the perfect leader; his home is not necessarily a place of perpetual bliss. Like you, he has his fair share of discord and dysfunction. Unfortunately, he lives in a glass house with everyone watching and weighing-in.
  • He also feels less than qualified for his job description. Who can be the total package – scholar, counselor, coach, and communicator? How can he be an expert on everything? And though his heart is broken for sinners, he is forced to wait on the Holy Spirit to affect the hearts of his beloved.
  • Perhaps, it is the “competition” that wears him out. He is very aware he is not to see other churches around him as such, but in his worst of days he sinfully does, and most in leadership around him unwillingly encourage such thinking. They prove it by their words and actions, and many vote with their feet.

Yes, your minister has a fantastic calling, but he has a dangerous calling. And unless he is assisted by God, his fellow leaders, and congregants, he might wear out; his ministerial knees cut out from under him, and be left with no vitality to minister to you. But you can help.

  • First, pray for your minister. Then stop by and pray with him.
  • Write him a note of encouragement.
  • Help him and his spouse schedule a date-weekend but take away his mobile phone first.
  • Guard your words, for what you say has unintended consequences. Listen more; pray more, and talk less.
  • As you see something that needs to be addressed, take the lead, offer constructive suggestion, and go to work.
  • Relentlessly, point him to the Gospel and grant him the same grace and forgiveness you have received from Christ.
  • Finally, send your minister and other fellow leaders to a conference on church health. Perhaps even consider signing them up for the Embers to a Flame conference taking place this January in Birmingham (Emberstoaflame.org). For almost twenty years, ministers, elders, and deacons from many denominations have been gathering, learning, praying, fellowshipping, repenting, and returning home encouraged to carry on. It is an annual shot-in-the-arm for leaders in the church. It is a time to freshly focus on church health instead of church growth.

Friends, I encourage you to encourage your minister. Yes, he loves you. But he may be slowing down, wearing out, and be in great danger. You can help and encourage. Now, will you?

Joseph Franks 

Rev. Franks has pastored in South Carolina, South Florida and Birmingham, Ala. In his current position at Briarwood Presbyterian, he is called to be a pastor to pastors. He is eager to talk about the Gospel, the Church, the pastorate and Embers to a Flame, jfranks@briarwood.org, 205-533-2396, www.emberstoaflame.org.

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