If you read through this site, you’ll notice a recurring sentence: “Ministry is hard.”
This is true whether you’re in a bustling metropolis or in a community with more cows than people. There’s really no way around it. Ministry is hard. It’s harder if you’re on your own.
Throughout the month of May, we’ve focused on soul care for the pastor. We’ve talked about reading good books, recreation, walking through the really hard days, and the importance of leaning on God’s strength to get us through.
In this post, I want to talk about friends. There’s a familiar passage in Ecclesiastes that says, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up” (Eccl. 4:9-10, CSB).
This is true in many contexts, but I think it is especially true in ministry. Last week Mark Hallock reminded us that none of us is as strong as we think we are. Maybe that’s a scary admission for you, but go ahead and embrace it. Say it with me: “I’m not that strong.” There, doesn’t that feel better?
Since we aren’t as strong as we’d like to think, we need others to hold us up and to hold us accountable. I’d encourage you to find a friend or two in ministry and meet with them regularly either in person, which is preferable, or through a video chat. Ask one another hard questions about your marriages, your parenting, and your shepherding. Encourage one another as husbands, fathers, pastors, and friends.
I have a couple of close pastor friends who have talked me off the ledge of resigning a few times. They’ve also provided valuable counsel when I’ve had to deal with rough situations in the church. They’ve been prayer partners as I’ve had to lead in big decisions. They’ve rejoiced with me in wins. They’ve mourned with me in losses. They’ve made fun of me when I’ve goofed up. Without them, I’m not sure I would still be serving in my current church.
So, pastor, as you serve as Christ’s hands and feet in the tough soil of church replanting and revitalization, you need to know you’re not alone. If you need some help connecting with other brothers in ministry, email [email protected] and we’d love to connect you with some other guys in your area who are serving in similar contexts. Follow us on Facebook at Church Replanters, where you’ll find helpful resources as you serve.
Build relationships in your local association, community ministerial alliance, and state convention. Keep a couple of fellow pastors on speed dial for those really hard days.
Don’t make ministry harder than it has to be by trying to go it alone. God has given us fellow pastors for a reason. Whether they are across town or across the globe, build a network of fellow pastors whom you can encourage and who will encourage you as well.,
Published May 29, 2019