Ministry is hard! But it’s awesome. So how do we keep from letting the hard stuff bog us down in this calling, career, and passion we have called worship-leading?
Right now our church, Inland Hills Church in Chino, CA, is in a season of fervent prayer and reliance on God. Our pastor, Dave, who founded the church 24 years ago, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia in 2011. He has been healed miraculously, re-diagnosed, healed miraculously again, re-diagnosed, and healed miraculously again. Now he is in a daily fight to recover completely from the toll that cancer, chemo, and the fight for his life took. In and out of the hospital, and recently confined to a wheelchair, it’s not the easiest season for him, or us. His son Drew, to whom he recently passed the lead-pastor baton, witnesses his physical ups and downs every week, and the sheer length of this battle has threatened all of us with frustration, confusion - and discouragement.
We’re not the only church staffers going through something tough, so I want to offer 3 tips we’ve learned as a staff that will help you defeat discouragement in your ministry, and keep your eyes on the Prize.
1. Keep Speaking Life
There have been honest and tearful moments during staff prayer times, and those are needed and healthy. But, I am so proud of our team for watching what comes out of our mouths during this crucial time. Imagine if the leaders had negative conversations with each other, and our people. It would spread fast, and deflate everybody. Instead, I’ve seen our staff stay positive, grateful, and full of faith during uncertainty - and our community has taken note. This approach reminds me of an important verse: “Don’t give the enemy a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:27) When you feel discouragement creeping in, speak God’s promises, and encourage yourself and others with godly words.
2. Rest Well
The solution to bumpy seasons in ministry is not “strive more.” In fact, entering God’s rest and giving our cares to Him, as well as doing things that bring us joy on our Sabbath, can do wonders for our perspective and stamina. Instead of thinking it’s on your shoulders to fix whatever’s going on or push through it in your own energy, use this opportunity to grow in trust that God is sovereign, and spend time in private prayer about all of it. Dave has a phrase: “God’s got this.”
3. Re-think Your Reasons
Whether your rough patch is a difficult relationship, a struggle to unify vision, or a straight up spiritual battle, it’s the perfect opportunity to revisit WHY you’re in ministry. If there’s personal motivation involved, a detour will completely frustrate you. But if you’re doing this because you’re sold out to Jesus and serving His people, a change of plans won’t derail you. Whatever happens, and however gut-wrenching and hard it is, God’s Kingdom is still invading Earth, and in any circumstance we can live our worship to Him every day.
To read more about Pastor Dave’s journey, visit GodsGotThis.org