You remember the line that goes, “ministry would be great if it weren’t for the people?” It does actually strike one as funny…especially for those folks who have had times in ministry where nothing was going right! Periods of frustration and constant troubles, where you wonder what in the world keeps you going in this thing called ministry.
Church life is tough. We’ve all been there. It is messy, complicated, and it hurts. I’m convinced ministry gets this way because the main thing we are called to do is love—and love is tough! We’ve all had times where we are in a Bible study, leading in some way, or even perhaps preaching, where we are just not mentally present because we are hurting personally. I can attest to being in that spot. Actually, I am in that spot right now as I write this. We have recently come out of the 9/11 remembrance, a period of mourning and sadness in my household, only to be met by a personal family tragedy this week. I can say that I’m just not having a good week. But I am writing this because it’s in this time that I realize just how needed and how very important our ministry is.
Ministry is love, isn’t it? And love comes in the form of relationships. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” It’s our relationship with Christ that affects all others. Whether it’s your spouse, your immediate family, your close friends, or your church family, these are the people who will surround you in the difficult times. These are the people who will minister to you, much in the same way you go out and minister to others. And there is no substitute for that.
“By this, all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
PS Your Synod office staff and officers care! We are looking into partnerships with great ministries that offer support to pastors in times of trouble. We desire to encourage healthy churches and healthy leaders, so we always want you to know you have our full support and prayer for whatever situation in which you find yourself.
You are never alone in our ECO family!