Pastor to Pastor: Encouragement for Today’s Pastors: We Love You and We Stand with You
It is exciting to know that you are called into the ministry and then you take that step of faith to be a Pastor. After a while, it is easy to get caught up in God’s goals that He has for you but at the same time leave God behind. Maybe you are feeling the demands and pressures that come from being a Pastor, but it could be that you are doing it without God, which would be operating in your strength instead of His. Pastor Ron Lentine, with Myrtle Grove Baptist Church, Dr. James Miller, pastor of First Baptist Church of Warrington, and Pastor Riley Richardson with Myrtle Grove United Methodist Church encourage you in your role as a Pastor and share wisdom on how to make sure that you are walking with God through it all.
Pastor Lentine shares the wisdom he has learned in the 38 years he has pastored which he started at age 29. “On that journey of faith, there are many distractions that can pull you away from the main thing. The main thing is glorifying God…that means that we have an audience of One. If we want to please anyone, we ought to please Him. Sometimes that means at times that we are not pleasing the folks or certain individuals sitting out there in the pew.”
Greg asks a great question to Pastor Lentine as to what to do when you have a very dominate member of your congregation who may be the biggest tither and tries to tell you how to run your congregation? “My recommendation is rise early, go to bed early. Little T.V., rise up early in the morning and spend time with God before you turn on the internet or look at Facebook or anything else. Get up extra early and spend that time with the Lord. Have one day a week…you can fast…that will help keep you on track. That meeting with God in the morning sets a tone for the day. It makes you aware of the fact that you are not alone in this thing. That He is there watching, again the audience of One. Start off the day saying, Lord, I want to please You more than I want ministerial success.”
He continues saying that we need to recognize that each Church is unique. You don’t need to worry about competing or comparing with other Churches. “Discover what that uniqueness is and maximize that in your call of the Lord.”
Dr. Miller, who has pastored for 45 years, shares more wisdom to Pastors and specifically answers a question Greg asked about a Pastor who may be considering suicide because they are not seeing any other way to keep going and he responds to that person. “We must remember that God called us into this ministry, and it is not something that most of us chose. He called us, and when He called us, He knew we were going to have the obstacles in our way. Our ups and our downs and all of that is filtered in, and we have to work through these things. But sometimes we lose focus…it does take God to put us back on course when things are turned upside down…we must always find time to allow God to speak to our heart whether we are young or old. We must realize it is not about us; it’s about Him…there were times that I did question God. I would ask Him is this really what you want me to do? There were times that I just thought about giving it up.”
He shares how God reminded him in those moments, of his calling as a Pastor, by bringing people to him and he would see how, because of God using him, he made a difference in that person’s life. “What I would say to the brother or sister that are going through the different situations, focus on the One that called you. Talk to the One that put you in this. ‘Lord I can’t deal with this’ and quicker than a minute you will find out that, yes you can because your job is to go through. And the word is to go through it, don’t stop in it.”
David said, “Even though I walk THROUGH the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
“The shadow of death will always be there, but with God’s help we can get through it.” It is easy to perform for society in this generation versus submitting to God and following what He has called us to do. This is exhausting! “God is not looking for a superhero. He is not looking for superman or superwoman. He is looking for someone that will be steadfast. God doesn’t answer our words; He answers our faith.” Be encouraged to stay steadfast and recognize the lies of satan telling you to give up! God is for you and not against you!
Pastor Richardson, who has been in ministry 32 years, speaks to you as a Pastor to give you hope to keep going. “Being a Pastor can be one of the loneliest positions that you’ll ever have. So often we carry things inside of us, our fears, our sin, our own hurt, we carry baggage from one church to another church where we have been bruised or injured. People that we have been called to love and minister to have become the very people that wound or hurt us. We are trying to be this wounded healer while the whole time trying to have a performance-based ministry to which you have to perform.” As a Pastor, you can’t survive by having a performance-based ministry! “You have to go out every Sunday; you have to be the man (or woman) of God that you have been called to be and to be vulnerable before your congregation. A lot of Pastors have not gotten to that place.” He shares how even Pastors go through terrible things, like divorce. Also, some even had to take a medical leave of absence because of the strain of ministry.
“Having good brothers or sisters in Christ, people you can share your journey with and to have prayer with, to receive comfort from. It is not just about what I am doing, but it’s about what God is doing through me. I think that’s important for these Pastor’s to be connected.” We can do nothing apart from Jesus the vine!
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Pastor Richardson continues, “So often we Pastors want to try to fix ourselves or heal ourselves, and that’s impossible. It is Christ living and working through us. If I can offer any hope at all, stay connected to the vine. Allow Holy Spirit to do the work in your life, to bring healing into your life and restoration into your life. Because you can’t do it alone.”
Spending time with Jesus is imperative for you to be successful in your ministry! It is easy to get caught up in looking for the right topic in the Bible for your next sermon but miss spending time with the Lord. When you stop and spend time with Him, you will be able to do anything when you ask Him for it! If you need guidance on how to spend time with Him, you can get your free abiding plan at iAbide today.
Next Pastor Richardson shares more wisdom. “The Church will drain you, and people will take more than you are even willing to give. You’ve got to pull away from the demands of the ministry and stay connected to Christ to allow Christ to fill you. Because you can’t give people what you don’t have.”
Dr. Miller gives wisdom as a father and apostle in the faith as he has 52 other ministers under his leadership. “We need heavenly directions, but as a young minister, you also need earthly directions. Choose wisely who you listen to and always keep God before you. Allow Him to orchestrate your ministry, rather than you trying to do it yourself. You will fail miserably trying to do it yourself, as I have, I have fallen miserably when I took matters into my own hand. But when I put myself in God’s hand, I was able to become stabilized…you gotta have earthly connections but as I said choose wisely.”
When you submit yourself to authority, God will speak to you through the person that you are under. It is important that if you are alone, you get connected and find the ones that will speak into your life because it is not good for man to be alone! Be encouraged in your ministry and do not give up! Your future is greater than your past! Were you encouraged by this great wisdom? We want to hear from you. Write to us at [email protected].