- The Leader Letter
- Trouble and Triumph
Trouble and Triumph
How To Win In Ministry Even When It's Tough!
This pastoring thing ain’t for the faint of heart!
Yesterday was a real doozy.
My wife and I started the day with a super tough appointment.
A woman in our church is going through a nearly unimaginable situation. We had no answers. All we could do is pray with her.
And then we got some rough news later in the day about a friend facing a health challenge.
To top it off…or bottom it out if you will…in the evening my heel started hurting something fierce (tendonitis maybe?) and now I can barely walk!
Momma said there’d be days like this, right?
But I’m excited to wake up today and get back to work for the kingdom of God…
Ministry is not for the faint of heart. It is a calling that requires courage, commitment, and compassion.
But it is also a calling that comes with challenges, struggles, and hardships. Whether you are facing opposition, criticism, conflict, burnout, or discouragement, you may wonder how to keep going when ministry gets tough.
The good news is that you are not alone. God is with you, and he has given you his grace, his power, and his promises to sustain you. He has also given you his Word, his Spirit, and his people to encourage you.
I want to share with you a few biblical principles that have helped me to hold on when ministry gets tough. I hope they will help you too.
1. Remember your calling.
One of the first things to do when ministry gets tough is to remember why you are doing it in the first place. You are not in ministry because of your own ambition, ability, or achievement. You are in ministry because God has called you. He has chosen you, gifted you, and appointed you to serve him and his people. He has a purpose and a plan for your life and your ministry.
Paul reminded Timothy of this when he wrote, “God saved us and chose us to be his holy people, but not because of anything we ourselves did. God saved us and made us his people because that was what he wanted and because of his grace. That grace was given to us through Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9).
When you remember your calling, you will find a renewed sense of identity, dignity, and destiny. You will realize that you are not serving in vain, but in obedience to the one who loves you and called you. You will also find a renewed sense of gratitude, humility, and dependence. You will realize that you are not serving in your own strength, but in the grace and power of the one who saved you and equipped you.
2. Rely on God’s strength.
Another thing to do when ministry gets tough is to rely on God’s strength. Ministry is not a human endeavor; it is a divine enterprise. It is not something we do for God; it is something God does through us. We are not the source of our ministry; we are the channels of God’s ministry. Therefore, we need to depend on him and not on ourselves.
Can I get an amen?
Paul demonstrated this when he wrote, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9 NIV).
When you rely on God’s strength, you will find a renewed sense of confidence, resilience, and hope. You will realize that you are not limited by your own resources, abilities, or circumstances. You will realize that you have access to the unlimited power, wisdom, and love of God. You will also find a renewed sense of joy, peace, and rest. You will realize that you are not carrying the burden of your ministry alone. You will realize that you have a faithful and loving God who cares for you and your ministry.
And best of all you can REST in Him and His provision!
3. Rejoice in God’s goodness.
A third thing to do when ministry gets tough is to rejoice in God’s goodness. Ministry is not a joyless duty; it is a joyful privilege.
Please go back and read that again because it’s key!
It is not a burden to bear; it’s a blessing to share! It’s not a reason to complain; it’s a reason to celebrate. God has been good to us, and he continues to be good to us. He has given us his Son, his Spirit, his Word, his church, his gifts, his promises, his presence, and his reward. He has done great things for us, and he continues to do great things through us.
David expressed this when he wrote, “I will praise the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will boast in the Lord; let the oppressed hear and rejoice. Magnify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:1-3).
When you rejoice in God’s goodness, you will find a renewed sense of perspective, gratitude, and worship. You will realize that your problems are not bigger than your God, and your challenges are not greater than his grace. You will realize that you have many reasons to thank God and praise him for his faithfulness and generosity. You will also find a renewed sense of contentment, satisfaction, and delight. You will realize that you are not missing out on anything, but you have everything you need in God. You will realize that he is your portion, your treasure, and your joy.
4. Remain faithful to God’s mission.
A fourth thing to do when ministry gets tough is to remain faithful to God’s mission.
Ministry is not a hobby to pursue; it’s a mission to accomplish.
It’s not a side project; it’s a main priority. It is not a temporary assignment to complete; it is a lifelong commitment to keep. God has given us a mission to make disciples of all nations, to preach the gospel to every creature, to love God and love people, to serve the least and the lost, to glorify him and enjoy him forever.
Jesus exemplified this when he said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:34).
When you remain faithful to God’s mission, you will find a renewed sense of purpose, passion, and urgency. You will realize that you are not wasting your time, but investing your life. You will realize that you are not doing something trivial, but something eternal. You will also find a renewed sense of courage, perseverance, and reward. You will realize that you are not facing the opposition alone, but with the Lord of hosts. You will realize that you are not working for nothing, but for the crown of life!
Ministry is tough, but it’s also rewarding. It’s a calling, a privilege, a blessing, and a joy. It is also a challenge, a struggle, a hardship, and a battle.
But we can hold on when ministry gets tough by remembering our calling, relying on God’s strength, rejoicing in God’s goodness, and remaining faithful to God’s mission. And we can look forward to the day when we will hear these words from our Master: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21 ).
One of the things that brings me great joy and satisfaction in ministry is to see people come to church and get their life changed by God!
That’s why I’m so passionate about helping pastors lead healthy, growing churches…
PS - I’m launching a brand new “done-for-you” service in the next few weeks where we’ll run your church Facebook ads and give you an automated way to follow up with people. We’ve already got 20 churches ready to jump in so there is a waiting list while we build our team…
But if you’d like to be notified when the doors open please reply to this email with the word “CHURCHFLOW” and I’ll be in touch with more info ASAP.