Every Pastor, whether the church is large or small, struggles to some extent with the pressures of performance. Whether we like it or not our attendance and our offerings growl like an angry Doberman at our conscience biting at our credibility, our character and our capability.
Our credibility will be questioned, “Where’s all the money going?”
Our character, “We need to pray more.”
Our capability, “We used to run more people.”
The small church pastor doubles as janitor, care taker, maintenance worker, and often, bi-vocational. His schedule his full, he feels he doesn’t have enough money or enough time to spend time with his family. Several Pastors, personally confessed of feeling incompetent and discouraged.
Without seeming redundant or condescending, there is, and should be, a relief valve. What we need is more than a day off, a coffee break or a vacation but we do need to see what God sees. To capture the heights of His understanding and to gain His approval. Without sounding simplistic, God’s evaluation of my ministry in incredibly important.
Here are three insights to reveal “Does God understand my struggle?”
THERE ARE SEASONS. 1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. Not only are there different seasons but there are different ministries. God may have you at your location to plow the field, the next pastor may sow the seed and the next pastor may yield the harvest. Or, one pastor may experience all three seasons – wait for it.
1 Corinthains 3:8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. Don’t despair in the season of cold, when plowing is tedious and tiresome; plow in anticipation of the harvest.
Take Away: Understanding the rise and fall of attendance and offerings are usually seasonal. Summer slump and Christmas holidays can be devastating to a small church but early Spring and Fall usually provide an upswing. Plan your greatest events during the months you typically see your increase.
THERE ARE GOD MOMENTS Isaiah 43:18-19 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. A “God Moment” is an unbelievable intervention causes you to celebrate, “It couldn’t have happened unless God did it.” Call it a breakthrough or revival or a windfall but it was absolutely a moment in your ministry when no one or nothing but God could have brought the results you received.
Take Away: Continual and tenacious prayer proceed breakthroughs. Step into the secret closet of prayer. Talk to God about the lows of your ministry. Ask Him to give you strength to go through the nonproductive days. Be willing to wait for God’s intervention.
THERE ARE LOVE LESSONS For me, a love lesson, is when it strikes me with the truth, God loves me and accepts me. In my failures, my lack of performance, and in my insufficiencies, He continues to accept me. There are times of tears and times of celebration, high and lows, success and failure but in each there is God’s love for me. Comparison to others will never solve the ache in my heart for approval. Approval only comes from God. Allowing God to express His love, even, without success, in monumental. You may feel all alone but in those quiet nights of reflection God whispers, “I love you.” Give your ministry to Him and He will see you through.
Take Away: Comparison with other ministries will get you down. Look to Jesus for the church He has entrusted you with. Allow God to reveal the vision He has for your congregation. Understand God’s approval of you is not based on your performance or success.
Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal or professional advice.