Pastors experience seasons when ministry defeats them. I have been there personally. At times, I still get there.
What This Looks Like
When ministry is defeating you, failure seems to be at your door continually. Perhaps ministry seems like it cannot return to what it once was before this season. Simultaneously, the critics are making themselves known loudly. You struggle daily, trying to move things along positively, but setbacks seem to be your daily challenge. You look around and nothing seems positive at all.
You determine to bring things back and set your gaze on the future positively. Yet questions continue, insecurity abounds, and you are really not confident you have it within you to do what needs to be done. You try, but every decision is like climbing a mountain and every emotion is hyper-sensitive.
People notice you are struggling and try to encourage you. While their intentions seem pure, their words seem so futile. You have stopped believing in yourself and even struggle in believing God can change the situation. This makes their words seem meaningless.
Have you ever been anywhere close to this? If so, what did you do? How do you press forward and get through to the other side?
To be honest with you, I have been there. And even a list of actions may seem like I am trivializing the situation you may find yourself in. Please know, I speak from some experience. I have done ministry a long time and if anyone has a decade under their feet, they have experienced challenges similar to what I described above.
What actions can you take to press through to a new day, filled with joy, peace and hope in ministry? Let me suggest these three actions:
1. Take it to the Lord in prayer daily. No, I am not trying to spiritualize the situation, but in reality, your present status is worthy of continual prayer. We cannot ignore the dynamic of God moving in your life, lifting you up from your present feelings, and placing you on the higher ground of faith. Our God is able to restore your faith, readjust your perspective and refresh your spirit.
2. Gain perspective about where you really are right now. When you are under the cloud of defeat, it becomes increasingly difficult to see matters as they really are. Gaining perspective is just not as easy as it was once. So how do you gain perspective?
I remember someone telling me years ago: Just remember, things are never as bad as they appear to be, nor as good as you think they are. This is why you need people in your life that will be honest with you from their perspective. It also helps to have people that are not always in your fan club.
Additionally, consider retreating from the setting for a day or two, attempting to gain perspective by seeing things from a distance rather than trying to gain perspective in the middle of the weeds. I believe at times this is why Moses went to the mountain. Yes, to pray, to talk to God, but also to see things from God's perspective. This is what every leader needs to do periodically.
3. Determine you are moving toward victory and plan accordingly. The problem with this defeat syndrome pastors often experience is that there are times we just settle in and begin to accept it as the norm. A defeated leader leads negatively, and negative leadership leads to nothing.
Change your attitude now, and chart a path for yourself that will move you forward to victory. In reality, the only thing you can change is your response to the situation. Sometimes the situation remains the same.
Here's a little perspective for you: Ministry is full of seasons. Sometimes we have winning seasons and sometimes we feel we are experiencing some losing seasons. Things change. You change. Churches change.
Determine now that you are going to ride this out and move forward with a victorious attitude regardless of the season you are in as a leader. You will have a miserable ministry if you let the circumstances you face determine your level of joy. Refuse to do that.
Rise up, pastor. Go forward. Set your sights on victory. Charge!
Dr. Ronnie Floyd has been a pastor for over 37 years. Since 1986, Pastor Floyd has served as the senior pastor of Cross Church, Northwest Arkansas, which has baptized over 17,000 people during his tenure. Cross Church was one of the first churches in America to go multi-site. In June 2014, Pastor Floyd was elected President of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has authored over 20 books, including FORWARD: 7 Distinguishing Marks For Future Leaders, releasing in 2015.
For the original article, visit pastors.com.
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