Recently I exchanged e-mail with a neighboring pastor who had several people leave his church after he invested in them, took chances on them, and helped them get involved in ministry. All pastors have experienced this at one time or another. This conversation reminded me that ministry is difficult. We have unstable materials and ever-changing processes. We have broken, fallible people to work with. Our product is never finished, and we cannot reduce discipleship to a process or a class. Sometimes it seems there are no handles. Here are some things I jotted down while talking with my friend.
If you did not convert them, you are their travel partner not their pastor. Once you help them through a crisis, you will be their pastor. Click To Tweet
Encouraging Words for Ministers
Victory is not in question but perseverance is. Quitting is not an option.
Transitioning is not the same as quitting.
The body expands and contracts. Hopefully, after two or three cycles of expansion and contraction, you have a net increase, not a net decrease.
The vision doesn’t change because people are fickle.
Don’t doubt in the night what God has shown you in the light.
Don’t compromise in the light for what you battled in the night.
People who move in are likely to move out.
If you did not convert them, you are their travel partner not their pastor. Once you help them through a crisis, you will be their pastor.
Don’t take it personally when people choose poorly.
When people make bad decisions without or against your advice, they will often announce their decision and ask for your blessing. A blessed mess is better than a cursed one. Pray for them—doubly so—and wish them well.
The way you say goodbye is more important than the way you say hello. Don’t portray people as bad when they leave. This viewpoint will make you bitter and guarded.
Unless there is irreparable damage, always leave the light on and the door open. Your damaged pride does not count.
Keep taking risks on people. Some will flop, but some will make it.
Don’t move the line. No matter where you draw the line, people will argue about the line.
Every service counts. Preach with faith and conviction no matter how broken you are.
It’s not about you. There is a big love story going on between God and humanity. You are merely the storyteller.
In the ebb and flow of ministry, God’s ministers are purged and humbled.
When we are weak, then we are strong.
Resources and Links by Rodney Shaw
Churchwork – In Churchwork Rodney Shaw provides pastors, ministry leaders, and volunteers invaluable wisdom and insight to optimize the performance of ministry teams. With fresh perspectives on follower-centric leadership and courageous followership, this book will bring clarity to your vision. As you begin to implement the principles in this book, you can expect to see results.
Facets of Faith – Rodney Shaw presents five essential facets of biblical faith: (1) Compatibility, (2) Trust, (3) Obedience, (4) Integrity, and (5) Ministry. This revised edition includes a study guide and teacher’s notes.
People of Promise – In this sequel to Facets of Faith, Rodney Shaw explores the faith of the heroes of Hebrews 11. Heroes are common people with common passions. What separates them from the crowd is that they simply believe what God has said, regardless of how absurd it might seem. Everything else in their lives is calibrated to align with what God has said. People of promise realize that they must live by every promise of God, not only by those that bring comfort. People of promise have a commitment to God’s promises that overrides their desire for self-preservation. People of promise live–and die–by the promises of God. People of promise recognize the fulfillment of God’s promises are not limited to the short span of time on this earth that we call life, and therefore their commitment to those promises is greater than their commitment to their own lives. If God said it, that settles it.