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.


  1. Tracy Wallace on February 21, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Oh man, were you eavesdropping on my conversation during our accountability group meeting today?

    Yes, yes and yes. Thanks, Carey. Once again, you inspire me and help keep me moving forward towards The Light.

  2. Bill Laxton on February 21, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Alright…now your are speaking my languauge. Satan is a "liar and the Prince of Lies…", so when I get my head straight in Christ I like to use the truth 'cause he (Satan),'…can't handle the truth!' And the truth is that "I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me."

    Now that I've come out swinging, I'm going to let up a bit and say that it is not me, but Christ, who is the one who is doing the fighting here. Yep, it is God. My job is to stand upon the Word of God in Jesus' Name…that's it. And it doesn't always, (or even often) feel like its working but I am fortunate enough to be able to say with 100% confidence that God does give the enemy a wuppin'!

    Yes, I still struggle with discouragement, heartache, illness and everything else that life can and does present me with, but I know…I know, that Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit is suffient for every situation.

    So what do I have as a result of all this? Well Paul speaks about "riches in this life as well as the life to come", so I'll tell you what riches I have as result: I have a marriage that has been worth every difficult cross road that we have faced; I have a relationship with each of my children that I could never have dreamed about; and I have a growing appreciation for the grace and mercy that I can share with others that God has given to me. No it ain't a million dollars, but a million dollars does not compare with what I have. And (saving the best for last), I have my eternal salvation in Jesus. Yep, I do not have to feel stuck in this life cause I have eternity to look forward to.

    BTW, if anyone who is not yet a christian is reading this and wonders what I get from them accepting Christ, it is simply this: heaven, a most excellent place, will be that much better because you will be there.

    So there! KO the enemy with that truth in Christ!

  3. Laurie McNair on February 21, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    miscommunication leading to broken relationships–yep
    mistakes–a few (ok many)
    trying to fix things on my own not working that well–definately
    A need to get back into a routine of studying Gods word–absolutley!
    Thanks Carey…this is exactly the encouragement that I needed today!

  4. Stephanie on February 21, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Thanks Carey. A great post! I think I need to break out my steel toe boots 😉

  5. Tim L. Walker on February 21, 2008 at 9:39 am

    I need this most days… 😉 Now where did I put my good kicking shoe….

  6. Jake Miller on February 21, 2008 at 8:53 am

    i needed this today, carey. thanks.

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