CNLP 011: Overcoming Discouragement, Dissatisfaction and Overwhelm in Leadership – An Interview with Pete Wilson

Ever want to give up?

No matter how successful you are you, you still struggle.

Pete Wilson, lead pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville—a church plant that’s grown to over 5,000 on 5 campuses—talks about seasons in which he’s had to overcome discouragement, dissatisfaction and being overwhelmed as a leaders.

Pete’s insights can help any leader going through whatever season they’re facing.

Welcome to Episode 11 of the podcast.

AND, don’t miss my podcast contest! This is the last chance to enter. Cast your ballot today! 

Scroll all the way to the bottom to enter to win the grand prize: admission to the Orange Conference 2015, plus coffee with me and Jon Acuff.

Pete Wilson Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast


Guest Links: Pete Wilson

Pete Wilson at Cross Point Church 

Pete on Twitter

Pete on Facebook

Let Hope In: 4 Choices That Will Change Your Life Forever by Pete Wilson

Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would? by Pete Wilson

Empty Promises: The Truth About You, Your Desires, and the Lies You’re Believing by Pete Wilson

Links Mentioned in this Episode

Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins When Family and Work Collide? by Andy Stanley

CNLP 002: How Perry Noble Hit Bottom While Pastoring One of America’s Largest Churches & How He Battled Back

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

It’s not uncommon to face fatigue and frustration when you hold a leadership position in church. Sometimes the path that you’re on may align with what God has in store, but there are ways you can keep your faith and sanity in check when you hit a rough patch.

  1. Abide in God. Sometimes you think, “Does God know? Does God care?” You look back and you see that God really has been for you. And when things don’t go your way, you assume that God wasn’t with you, but remember: He bears the fruit in your life and in your ministry.
  2. Find a way to commemorate the good seasons and physically mark them. When you think of the good times, you’ll say to yourself, “Ah, I remember that season! I remember what God did during that time!” If we don’t find ways to remember what God has done for us in the past, we’ll have a hard time trusting Him with our future. Those prompts remind us to be thankful for everything God does in your life, and prompt us to trust Him. He has been faithful in the past, and he will be faithful in the future.
  3. Create space in your life. In our culture, we give in to the idol of busyness. Pete says that one equates busyness with importance because one thinks that the busier they are, the more important they are, and that’s not really the case. The reality is, the busyness is an enemy of awareness. We stay so busy, that we become unaware of what God’s doing in our life, our soul and what really matters. So, if you want self awareness to increase, the busyness has to decrease. What you’ll find in creating space is time that’s not constantly hurried, you become more self aware and you hear God more clearly.

Quotes From Pete

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Got a question?

Next Episode: Steve Barr And a Church For Disney

Next week’s guest is Steve Barr, Lead Pastor of Cast Member Church in Orlando, Florida, a church created to reach Disney cast members (employees).

Not only a great episode for Disneyphiles, but for any leader trying to figure out how to do a better job reaching specific targets and demographics.

Enter HERE to Win Coffee with Jon and Me, a Ticket to Orange Conference 2015 & More!

Hey…it’s the final week of the contest. The GRAND prize draw happens next Monday, December 1st.

When you enter by leaving a comment in the show notes of the blog, it’s also your ballot to win the grand prize.

The grand prize is a free ticket to The Orange Conference 2015 in Atlanta in April of next year. Not only does it get you in for free, but you get a coffee with me and Jon Acuff backstage!

We are selecting the grand prize winner from all of the comments shared!

So…enter to win by answering this week’s question ­­– 

What has helped you overcome personal discouragement?

Scroll down, leave a comment.

Your comment is your ballot for this week’s prize AND the grand prize of a free ticket to Orange Conference 2015 and coffee with Jon Acuff and me. Go!


  1. Investigations Toronto on October 2, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    I am currently using Tumblr as my default system. I kinda want something like what you have.

    Congrats, I think I have to invest into a proper website.

  2. Investigator in Toronto on September 26, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    I am currently using Tumblr as my default system.
    I want kinda something like what you have. Congrats,
    I think I have to invest into a proper website.

  3. Chuck on December 2, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Another home run! Nice work by both of you!
    To answer the question about overcoming discouragement, Pete’s comment (#2 in your list of 3 up there…) about commemorating good seasons of life, special events, victories, etc. is very huge, and very personal with me. What Pete talked about doing with photographs and such, I do with songs. My wife used to lovingly kid me about this long list of songs I’d keep over the years–in high school, college, and grad school l picked what I called a “fight song” that I’d use for encouragement. Over the decades, I also would identify “themes” that commemorated just what Pete was saying; a victory, a graduation, a new job, a particular season, particular friends, etc. I’ve somewhat fallen away from the practice, but I still get torpedoed amidships when one of these songs pops onto the radio or someone’s MP3 player or whatever…. This, and the photos Pete spoke of, make me think of the stone memorial at Eben-ezer. (See I Samuel)

  4. Carey Nieuwhof on December 2, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Hey everyone! THANK you so much for making this a great season on the blog. I so appreciate everyone’e comments (and entries) in my first ever blog contest.

    So…the grand prize winner is….(drum roll): Joe Robideaux. Congrats Joe. You’ve one a free ticket to Orange Conference 2015 and coffee backstage with me and Jon Acuff.

    Can’t wait to hang out Joe!

    And…thanks to all the weekly entrants and winners and to EACH of you for adding such value to the blog by posting such helpful, meaningful comments. You guys ROCK.

    We’ll do another contest soon, and in the meantime…let’s keep leading together like never before.

    Love this tribe!

    – Carey

  5. Jasper Rains on December 1, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    I just want to go to orange. And I listen to the podcast. Please.

  6. Julie on December 1, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I am beyond blessed with an amazing group of friends that I can be transparent with and who will pray with me and for me. I also am a podcast junkie. Podcasts like this one with Pete Wilson help me remember that I am not alone in some of my struggles. There are people who have great insights and leadership skills at anything and everything Orange – love the Orange Conference and Orange Tour both. Staying in the Orange Bubble is the challenge.

  7. Zach on November 30, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Having a wonderful support system of people who are in ministry and people I have meet in other seasons of life to be a sounding board. Also, I continue to listen to great podcasts and read books that continue to help me see the bigger picture.

  8. Bret Hammond on November 29, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Regular meetings with others in leadership. They are great sounding boards and endless sources of encouragement and accountability for me

  9. Annabelle on November 27, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Having good friends who are there with you every step of the way praying with and for you is one of the biggest ways that I have overcome a personal discouragement. Just the other day I had felt so discouraged as a parent of my almost 18 year old, I went to my friends and open up and cried…They listened, encouraged me, and prayed with me through my discouragement… And they also continued sending texts and prayers my way for days as I started picking up the pieces. It’s great to have such Godly friends and to get to work alongside them in Children’s Ministry.

  10. Chara on November 27, 2014 at 7:47 am

    I get so focused on what needs to be fixed and next steps that I’ll often skip the most important part – going to God in prayer and trusting Him to supply the need and giving me wisdom. I need to put the doing part after abiding in Christ and knowing He’ll enable me as we go.

  11. joshpezold on November 26, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Wonderful Podcast. It’s always encouraging to hear the wisdom God brings through his people. My wife and I are church planters in New England (2 yrs and 3 Months!) and discouragement hit us HARD when we first moved here. From the beginning God kept telling us one thing… “It may be hard, but it is good.” God is constantly reminding us during times of discouragement that though making disciples is difficult, it is still so good because people are considering Jesus. That’s worth giving our lives to, and the discouragement resulting from people rejecting Jesus only fuels us with deeper compassion to figure out what it will take to help them take their next step toward Him. Can’t believe we get to partner with Jesus in helping people know Him. What a privilege!

  12. Jim Turner on November 26, 2014 at 11:29 am

    This was a great podcast for me to listen to, because I am currently in the middle of a season of discouragement. What helps me is remembering Philippians 1:6 “Being confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” i actually just had to do that lol!. Thanks for the great podcast, and please keep it up.

  13. Shelby Pratt on November 26, 2014 at 11:19 am

    I am, perhaps, going to take a bit of a different approach with my answer. I would never want to dismiss either time in prayer or in finding inspiration from the Word of God. I, most certainly, have benefited from both during times of personal discouragement.
    However, I look back to a particularly difficult time from my first full-time ministry experience as a youth pastor. It was a very unhealthy situation, which ultimately led to our pastor and his wife, and me and my wife, resigning our positions. Something his wife said has stuck with me for 16 years…
    “God must have something very special in store for you, for you to have gone through such a difficult situation so early in ministry.”
    From that time forward, my wife and I have refused to be a statistic and never let the difficult times of ministry get the best of us. There have been wonderful times of ministry, and, yes, there have also been difficult ones. I just keep believing God has something special in store.

  14. Joe Robideaux on November 25, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    How I’ve overcome personal discouragement is similar to most who have already posted. Time in the Word and prayer have been huge. But, another game changing moment was when I finally got honest with myself about why I was in ministry. I thought I was in it to make a difference for the Kingdom but when I was at my lowest, I realized I was really in it for myself. I wanted people to like me. I wanted to feel important. I wanted to be comfortable. When my prayer life began to change and I started asking God to make me more excited about His purposes for my life rather than my preferences, I found discouragement came less often and I moved past it much quicker.

  15. Kevin Neville on November 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I find early morning getting into the Word of God, especially His promises really works for me.

  16. Kim Otis Baptist on November 25, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    One of the things that has helped me the most to overcome personal discouragement is to get alone with God (my car is the best spot for me to do this – don’t know why, but God and I have some of our best conversations when I’m behind the wheel) and ask Him to remind me of the work He’s done that I’ve been blessed to be part of in ministry over the years. When he brings to my mind the kids I’ve been a pastor or teacher to in the past, and where they are and what He’s doing in them today, I’m grateful and blessed to have been part of all that!

  17. Robert Morris on November 25, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    In order to battle personal discouragement, I have tried a couple of things. The first has been to attempt to take a “years-approach” to ministry and not simply a “day-to-day or week-to-week” approach. Seeing the big picture and choosing long-term effectiveness over short-term wins has kept me less discouraged when something small, yet challenging happens. I’d say the other thing would be my involvement in a LIfe Group at our church (not as a pastor/leader), but just as another man in my local church community. This has helped me tremendously to see that my struggles are similar to everyone else’s struggles.

  18. Brent Dumler on November 25, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    To battle personal discouragement, I’ve learned to take some Sabbath time in isolation. Just me and Jesus. This has allowed me to hear his voice and only his voice. When I’m hearing only Jesus about me and where I’m at in life, discouragement cannot last. It’s like Pete said about abiding in God. That really is my first job responsibility.

  19. Chris Shumate on November 25, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    The thing that has helped me overcome personal discouragement is having a godly mentor that challenged my thinking. Even when he agreed with me, he tried to show me the other side. I often hated him for it, but I am grateful he did it.

    I have the opportunity now to mentor a young man. It has helped me stay encouraged when I’m discouraged. But by far having my mentor in my life challenging me is what has helped me most.

    Being connected to a small group and serving within my church has been helpful too. It’s all about widening the circle.

    I got all the points from Pete’s interview you highlighted above. It was great to hear that his wife can approach him and tell him she feels they are off balance. Many wives would be scared to do that; many husbands wouldn’t listen. There’s a great marriage lesson that can be applied there.

    The thought of buckets too for scheduling time. I never thought of it as buckets so it was interesting to hear Pete’s concepts.

  20. Shawna on November 25, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I have found that when things get difficult, it is important to remember what God has done and surround myself with people that will encourage me in the calling that God has for me. I have found it helpful to reread some of the journalling that I have done as well.

  21. Robert Aaron Perales on November 25, 2014 at 9:26 am

    In times of struggle and loss in ministry, I have always found it helpful to reflect on my own calling, the calling of our spiritual ancestors in scripture, and God’s ability to work through us despite us.

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