I am often blown away by the emotional cost that ministry exacts not only on pastors and staff, but also on volunteers. As I’ve met with hundreds of church leaders over the last few years,
the subject comes up again and again. Summer’s a time where a lot of people in ministry ask: can I do this for another season? Usually something steals our
passion and enthusiasm, and it’s just so hard to get back. How do you
How are you doing this summer? Enriched? Passionate? Alive? Or struggling?
I remember the first time my heart went dead — it was six years ago. Our church at the time was going through a tough season, and it just about killed me. I just stopped feeling things. I went to a Christian counselor for the first time, and slowly my heart began to breathe again.
The last few years have brought their share of issues too. And I have felt my heart at times grow more silent than I really wanted it to. Over the last year, my heart has gradually been coming back, and this summer, it’s starting to have moments of life and joy I haven’t felt in a long time. It’s like rain coming after a drought. It’s so good, and more and more I see it as gift.
One test for me to see if my heart is working is simply whether I feel what I ought to feel when something happens. If something great happens, do I feel joy? If something sad happens, can I enter that sadness? If something moving happens, am I moved? When the answer is no, I worry. When the answer is yes, I feel incredible gratitude to God.
Things that have helped me move from flat to feeling the thrills and joy of life again:
- Never quitting on God, even when I didn’t feel like praying or reading the Bible. God is faithful whether we can feel him or not.
- Having good people you can trust around you. Often, our hearts hurt when people we trust let us down. The challenge is to simply not stop trusting. Then the shutdown of the heart is inevitable.
- Getting in on what God is doing. I think sometimes we can keep asking God to bless what we are doing, but to simply cooperate with what God is already doing is so much more refreshing.
- Believing the best. Critics abound. Humbly learn what you can, but trust that God is doing to use it to reconstruct a better you. I get stuck when I let the negative voices be the only voices and fail to hear the voice of God (and others) encouraging me to believe His promises. It’s great to know that God still believes in all of us.
I’ve had some experiences in the last few weeks I won’t blog about…but will talk about when I get back. Can’t wait to share it with you back in our community.
In the meantime,
- how are you doing
- what have you found helpful when you are struggling?