Broken Vessels

Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing his reflections and practical insights as a ministry leader on Greenelines, a new podcast. Listen at

In brokenness we discover the depths of our pastoral calling.
The following three truths have been resonating deep within my spirit lately: (1) Ministry's best classroom is brokenness; (2) Brokenness is the tuition pastors pay to be equipped; and (3) The only vessels God can use are broken ones.

"No one in seminary ever told me that ministry could be so tough," a friend of mine recently shared with me.

As I travel and minister, I cross paths with a broad spectrum of pastors. Some are excited, inspired and dynamic. Others are worn, broken and tired. My heart aches for those who minister faithfully while dealing with great struggles and receiving paltry compensation.

The cost of ministry mounts as the years pass. No matter how much tuition we pay to attend Bible school or graduate seminary, the real cost of ministry will be paid after graduation. The statistics of those leaving the ministry after only a few years are staggering.

Whatever the latest statistics may report, the stark reality is brutal: Ministry often chews people up and spits them out. Stress, family problems, financial lack, marital infidelity and mean church folk all seem to play a part in the undoing of a minister. Ministry puts the minister on the cross whether he or she goes voluntarily or not.

The good news is this: Resurrection follows crucifixion. The Potter lovingly reshapes and molds us according to His plan, not ours.

"Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make" (Jer. 18:3-4, NKJV).

Brokenness is not an attack of the enemy­it is the result of Christ reshaping us into His image. The tools He most often uses to crush us are sheep. They become the sandpaper that smoothes our rough edges.

Cleaning up sheep dung and anointing a sheep's wounds enable us to become shepherds instead of taskmasters. We come to value sheep for who they are, not for what they can do or give. Our brokenness allows the oil of healing to pour from us as we become wounded healers.

The tears of brokenness cleanse you for ministry. Don't waste your tears. Use them to wash the feet of your people.

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart--These, O God, You will not despise" (Ps. 51:17).

Larry Keefauver co-pastors The Gathering Place Worship Center in Lake Mary, Fla. He is the author of Lord, I Wish My Teenager Would Talk With Me (Charisma House).

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