Facing Ministry Challenges

Encouraging Renewal
in You and Others
Philip G. Monroe, PsyD
Biblical Seminary
[email protected]
What is the biggest threat to encouragement
in ministry?
 How do you combat it in your own life?
 How do you help others combat it?
Shepherds must establish consistent selfreflection and self-care in order to avoid
being an impediment to the mission of God
The continuous demands of ministry (along
with criticism and self-doubt) make it difficult
to reflect, evaluate, and receive shepherding
Ministry stress is real…and deadly to the soul
Renewal practices work
3 recommended practices you can use to
support renewal in others
“I do not know where my work starts or
where it ends.”
Unrealistic expectations by self and church
(actual vs. ideal ministry duties)
 84% of pastors believe their family should be
healthier than others
It is easy to maintain a robust prayer life
Ready for any challenge
Balance ministry and family demands
Pastor myself
A robust personal prayer life
▪ Only 16% of pastors “very satisfied”
▪ 30% “dissatisfied”
▪ Only 9% “very satisfied” under age 45 but 30% of those
age 60+
▪ Only 5% of Presbyterians “very satisfied”
▪ Avg prayer time? 39 min per day
▪ 12 min. of requests, 8 min. listening, 7 min. thanksgiving, 7 min.
praise, 5 min. confession
▪ Presbyterians average 28 minutes in prayer
From greymatterresearch.com 2005 survey of 868 Sr. pastors
Prepared for challenges
▪ 38% of evangelical churches have no budget for
continued education
▪ 46% report lack of support by church/denom.
 Assumption: You have all you will ever need to
minister well in a changing world
▪ Corollary: You should be able to imbibe evil and not be
unduly impacted
See 2005 survey of 860 pastors at greymatterresearch.com
Personal and family health
▪ 71% of Sr. pastors are overweight by avg of 32 lbs
▪ 9:10 get less sleep than national avg.
▪ Vast majority rate their own family and marital health as
very good, BUT…
▪ most admit to spending too little time with family AND report…
▪ 1:4 of peers have child discipline problems
▪ 1:5 of peers have significant marital discord
▪ Overestimating one’s own health?
I can be a lone ranger!
76% of time by self
16% of time from family (spouse)
8% of time from outside relationships
Note: only 7% would consider going to a counselor but
84% willing to refer a parishioner
2005 study by McMinn et al in Pastoral Psychology
Expectations + stress + isolation = ?
 tired, starving shepherds
▪ Who do but cannot be
Did you know…
 Stress from lack of social support is more
predictive of negative mood and physical distress
than is financial stress?
Wherever they find food
 Control?
 Escapism?
 Perfectionism/Performance?
Vision conflict
 Self?
 Ministry?
 Family?
Introspective… or ruminative
Motivated… or ignoring limits
Visionary… or inflexible
Honest… or cynical
Worldliness is not the trap that most endangers us as
Christian workers; nor is it sin. The trap we fall into is
extravagantly desiring spiritual success; that is, success
measured by, and patterned after, the form set by this
religious age in which we now live.
….Unless the worker lives a life that “is hidden with Christ in
God,” he is apt to become an irritating dictator to others,
instead of an active, living disciple. Many of us are dictators,
dictating our desires to individuals and to groups.
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, April 24
Pastors often lack a strong spiritual vision for
their own formation amidst conflicting
▪ Chandler, “Pastoral Burnout…” Pastoral Psychology,
Spiritual renewal practices
Rest-taking practices
Support system practices
 Hands & Fehr. Spiritual Wholeness for Clergy (1993)
Write down your “stones”
 Stories of God’s handiwork in your life
▪ One long ago
▪ One or two recent
Take care that no pre-occupation with things
pastoral allows you to forget the supreme
need of drawing out of Christ’s fullness, and
out of the treasures of His Word, for your own
soul and life, as if that were the one and
solitary soul and life in existence.
Hebrews 12:3: “Consider Him…so you will
not grow weary and lose heart.”
“What a strange cure for mental weariness….I
should have expected an invitation to mental
rest….The weariness of the body is cured by
slumber; but the weariness of the mind can be
cured only by stimulus.”
George Matheson, Leaves for Quiet Hours, p. 141
Be mindful not to rob God (Mal 3) by
 God’s creative work around you (Ps. 8)
 His kindness and sternness (Rom. 11)
 Your stones of remembrance (1 Sam 7)
 His Word
It takes practice and discipline to reorient our
life around considering rather than
Remembrance (What is God doing?)
Reality (What do I really believe?)
Repentance (Do my private and public lives
Repetition (Do I persevere?)
Mt 25:13: Therefore keep watch…
 Just what am I trying to watch?
▪ Watchfulness = intentional awareness
▪ It is not passive but a way of construing the world (J.
 Watchfulness requires…
▪ An unblinking focus
 What logismoi do you “watch”?
Solitude will not by itself, if I judge rightly,
help him to secret intercourse with God. A
feeling of solitude, under most
circumstances, much more tends, by itself, to
drive a man unhealthily inward, in
unprofitable questionings and broodings, or
in still less happy exercises of thought. Or it
drives him unhealthily outward, quickening
the wish for mere stimulants and
excitements of mind and interest.
The continuous demands of ministry (along
with criticism and self-doubt) make it difficult
to reflect, evaluate, and receive shepherding
without the help of others
Remember (ch. 1)
Act (ch. 2-3)
Be wary (ch. 4-6)
If Paul were writing to you, what dangers and
admonitions would he give you?
What discipling have you received from
another person in your life in 2010?
 Question: Does anyone know you enough to write
this? Who really disciples you?
Setting Objectives
Eliminating Barriers
Spiritual Care Teams
A team of wise prayer warriors not unwilling
to wade into your life to act as shepherd and
SCTs function as your support, accountability,
worship leader, and advisor
Who is able AND willing to give their time on
a monthly basis?
Who is spiritually mature enough to listen
and speak at the right times?
Both sexes should be involved. None should
report to or be family members
Can’t find anyone?
Meet to pray and worship
Meet with you to develop a sense of the
issues and concerns: What questions, areas of
concern, areas of joy, etc.
Follow-up with your schedule, your family,
Meet with your family
Content of concerns and ruminations
Where did you see God at work in your life?
What needs to be removed from your
schedule? Added?
You aren’t honest with them
They are too enamored with your position
They are too enamored with their own advice
or legalistic
It functions like a committee instead of care
Prayer is an afterthought
Should you pay for spiritual care?
 Barriers in you and your church
 Benefits?
 Drawbacks?
1,000 dollar budget line?
 Spiritual direction
 Preventive counseling
We are the Lord’s Ministers; we have a cure
and charge of souls as the unordained
Christian has not; and let us remember it,
humbly and reverently.
But also we are, all the while, sheep of the
Bishop Handley Moule, To My Younger Brethren
What hinders us from building spiritual care
 External? Internal?
What renewal opportunities are available to
me that I need to start using?
 Daily? Sabbatical? Educational?
 Group? Discipleship?
What family renewal opportunities do I need?
 Facing Ministry Challenges
 [email protected]

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