One of the main things I encounter when I run into church leaders is discouragement. It’s endemic to the calling. Every leader I know struggles with this from time to time.
Four of the key sources of discouragement I see are:
- Our own mistakes – and criticism that results from it.
- Unjustified criticism – there’s plenty of that in the church, which can be a harbour for a tiny group of people who are simply nasty about a lot of things.
- The pain of betrayal or broken relationships. It just happens in relationships and in ministry.
- Lack of progress in ministry.
Discouragement nips at my heels in seasons. If I’m not careful, it can start to be crippling. There have been seasons where I’ve stopped believing that God actually called me to this or has an investment in this. Those seasons are short, but they’re real. And if discouragement festers, it can lead to a real leadership crisis.
I felt discouragement tugging at my heels again recently. I decided in the last week not to ignore it…but to fight it. And not just to fight it, but to kick it in the teeth, in the most holy kind of way you might kick something in the teeth until the teeth shatter into a million fragments. That kind of kick it in the teeth.
How are you doing today? Discouraged? Kick it in the teeth. Read up on Moses. Study Jesus on the way to the cross. Think about Paul’s life. Easy? Nope. Worth it? You bet. You called to this? You really think the Kingdom of God is going to flourish if thousands of us wimp out or decide we’d rather watch tv?
Remember we have an enemy. He wants to grind us down. Kick him where it hurts, in the…teeth. Hard.