Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

A Gut Check in the Dark

 For the already overworked pastor, the challenges of this season mean one thing: It’s gut-check time.

Dark times draw out the best in the church. Jesus called us the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:14), and as more people show up at church in dire straits during these dark economic days, we have an unprecedented opportunity to reflect the true Light as we meet both physical and spiritual needs. But as great as that sounds, any church leader knows that being a city on a hill takes work. Late-night calls. Budgets pushed to the limit. Limited family time. Weeks without a day off. For the already overworked pastor, the challenges of this season mean one thing: It’s gut-check time.

I lead a team under the same working code as the majority of American employees today: Do more work in less time. No one’s getting an extra dime for producing two, three, even four times as much as in the past. To a person, this isn’t just a stretching time; it’s gut-check time.

My team members, like pastors everywhere, essentially have two options in facing the season: They can grit their teeth and barely survive while dreaming of the day the storms pass; or they can know they’ve been appointed by God to be here for such a time as this, stand up in the raging storm and be prepared to take the blows while persevering for a higher purpose.

Those aren’t words I’ve offered lately to coerce people into working harder; they’re the truth for every follower of Christ today, whether you serve on a church staff, work a desk job or run a ministry. This is not a season for laying low or keeping status quo. We must have God-given assurance that we’re in the right position, at the right time, equipped with the right assignment.

I’ll never forget a basketball game I played in during my senior year of high school. Our team was down by a single point with about 20 seconds left on the clock. Coach had called a timeout but said little during it other than this: “You know the play. You know what to do. Now go do it.” As the point guard walking the ball up the court, I didn’t feel the normal butterflies in my stomach, but instead total confidence. Why? Because every player knew exactly where he should be and what he should be doing.

The American church is facing the same countdown (minus the Hoosiers-like melodrama). As believers, we must be certain of what we’ve been called to do. And as church leaders, it’s imperative that we’re in exactly the right spot at the right time, guiding those who need assistance to their places on the court of life. Settle for anything less and you’ll either be miserable, unfruitful or both. But walk precisely where He’s called you to be and you’ll open the floodgates for kairos moments that echo your whispered prayers of, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done.”

If lately you’ve sensed something askew in your ministry, I urge you to soberly reconsider your place with the Spirit’s guiding. I’m not encouraging you to abandon your ministry calling just because you’re tired, frustrated and feeling down. But I am asking you to do a gut check. The world doesn’t need another out-of-position “pastor by default” who actually should be leading a business, school or bank. It needs people shining their lights in this season. And it needs pastors who know how to ignite and reignite those people’s lights, even as the darkness grows—because that’s what they were made to do.


Marcus Yoars is the editor of Ministry Today.

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • Don't bring your sermons in for a crash landing.

    4 Terrible Ways to Close a Sermon

    People need an opportunity to respond to the Word of God.

  • Pastors and ministry leaders should be bold in preaching against the murder of unborn babies.

    Kingdom Influence: A Challenge to Young Pastors and Leaders

    Jentezen Franklin urges ministry leaders to be strong and courageous in dealing with these issues ...

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders