Ups and Downs of ministry

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by TaterTot, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. TaterTot

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    Those in ministry experience the highs and lows of many people's lives right along with them. It's actually one of the things I love best about being "in the ministry". Sometimes, though, it gets overwhelming, at least for me. Like when people you spend years growing to love have to suffer through lengthy illnesses and death.
    As I said, I love being able to go through these intimate times with people. But how do some of you cope with the "downs"?
     
  2. blackbird

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    I've had three of my church members with cancer all at one time---good, faithful members---2 have since passed away---the third is in remission

    I don't know, TaterTot---I believe God just kinda sorta flings grace upon us in order to be able to handle the "downs"
     
  3. bobbyd

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    That is a good question...and one i'm still trying to figure out myself.

    I have looked back at my time in ministry and there are times where it seems like there were more downs than ups. In fact, i'm feeling a bit like i'm in one of those downward tracks and i wonder if i'm really doing any good here.

    Yet, i do know that God has been faithful. When i have cried out to Him he has been there.

    I have also found that God is able to put someone in my life for me to "vent" to, or to open up to that is outside of my ministry situation. It amazes me how often just having an ear to listen to me makes a difference.

    So, if you figure out how to handle the downs...right a book and i'm sure to buy it!

    BTW...i see you guys are both from MS, i spent 6 wonderful years there while i was in college (Jones County Jr College and William Carey College). Currently i'm back in my birth state of Louisiana where i'm serving as a pastor...but i was born again in MS, so it is very much home to me!

    in HIS grip
    bobbyd
     
  4. gb93433

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    I had 8 people die in one month at one church I pastored. If I could do just funerals to get people's attention about life and death I would.

    One of the early funerals I did was surprising to me. After I gave the sermon for about ten minutes people stood there and not one word was said and nobody moved. Most of them were rough people and had not been to church in a long time, if ever. The fuenral was done outside. After that one funeral people began to share with me about how they needed to get right with God. What was really great was my neighbor who I had talked with many times heard me preach that day.
     
  5. TaterTot

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    Thats neat. I love seeing those things happen too. Its just hard when you let yourself love people deeply, like family, then you have to watch them hurt. Its hard when you dont love them, too. And its hard helping them deal with their feelings about death and helping them sort through emotions, knowing that they wont be here much longer.
     
  6. gb93433

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    When I do a funeral I see that as a great opportunity to help people see the shortness of life and tell them of the good news of Jesus Christ and how they can be ready. Each funeral I do I learn something new about life and death. It reminds me of what is really important. In many ways it is a great pleasure and I feel as though I have developed some new friendships and am able to help people grieve and heal. At one church I pastored we had a whole team of people who helped with anything that was needed by the family. We did whatever we could for the family and out of town guests. That spoke volumes to the non-believers present. It made the members of a family who were Christians glad to see that kind of love and care for someone the church did not know.

    When one man died in the church part of that team mowed the lady's lawn and trimmed her trees. They also helped her and recruited others to help her financially.

    One time I visited a man who was not given much of a chance to live. I continued to visit the man and used those opportunities to teach people how to visit those in the hospital. That man so worried that he told me he probably would not live and started crying. That man was a grump at church it seemed like each Sunday. It seemed like he always complained. When I was told he was in the hospital I really did not feel like going to see him but I did more out of obligation. For the next few weeks I visited him regularly in the hospital. One time I went to see him just a few minutes before he went into surgery. Without a word the look on the nurses' face told me everything. They were worried because he was worried and upset. I looked the man straight in the eye and told him to quit worrying and let the nurses and doctors do their job. I prayed for him and then left after he was wheeled into the operating room. On my way out the nurses said something to me to indicate thanks pastor. I know the family was surprised at my directness with him. That man lived and when he got out of the operating room he was a changed man. That man was never a grump again. People in the church noticed it too. That man started sharing his faith with people he met. What an incredible change God did.

    Often I took my daughter with me to visit people in the hospital ever since she was a little kid. She would ask about some of the tubes and talk with the person in the bed. I found those in the hospital were cheered up by her. Sometimes they wanted her to sit on their bed. I never told my daughter about their condition. She would walk in to ICU like it was home. It was always fun to take an adult along and see the adult's response compared to her's. Most of the time my wife worked in the same hospital too so that may have helped.
     
  7. PastorSBC1303

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    I do not know that there is an answer as to how you deal with the downs. It is one of the hardest parts of ministry. But as you said it is one of the best parts getting to form deep relationships with people. God just gives you what you need when you need it.
     
  8. Timtoolman

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    I believe the body, church if you will does the same. We question but realize that God is on control. Realize that people in all walks of life have ups and downs.
    I do not believe it is any more diffcult for pastors. I am a pastor son and my wife's father is also a preacher. There are tough times but we all face them.
     
  9. PastorSBC1303

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    I think there is a difference. And you would not know the difference unless you are a pastor or a pastor's wife.
     
  10. USN2Pulpit

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    Actually, being the child of a pastor also gives a person unique insight...

    I just hope I get that part right with my kids!
     
  11. Timtoolman

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    I know SBC from the other side everyone thinks they have it the roughest. I have had the chance to be involved in serval minsistries in my life. I was also a commmitte person (make pastoring like a walk in Park!) and do feel like I know what I a talking about. But we do allow disagreement on this forum, eh?
     
  12. Timtoolman

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    Now theres a good man. I will tell you what my father has left me. He loves the ministry, he is semi retired in that he doesn't have a church but still preaches somewhere more then not. He is a gentle man who led the sheep and did not drive them. Always preaching the truth with love and understanding. He would give you the shirt off his back whether you liked him or not, whether you knew him or not. Today in his late 70's he lives everyday as it comes. Wanting for nothing and enjoying life till his old body gives out. He loved the ministry and would not take anything back. I never heard him say how tough the ministry was. I say people, drunks and unsaved get in my dads face and threaten him and us kids. He never, that I saw, returned anger for anger.

    IN his lifetime he pastored a church in East Liverpool Ohio, ....Lima, Ohio......Kenton, Ohio (started this church about 30 yrs ago and still growing.....Spartenburgs PA. All fundemental baptist churches.
     
  13. PastorSBC1303

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    While I am not the child of a pastor I did spend the majority of my youth in the home of a pastor and his wife and I can remember thinking to myself "this is not as hard as everyone makes it out to be."

    And I have no doubt that being the child of a pastor gives you a unique perspective. And I echo USN's comments that I pray I get that part right with my girls.

    However, there are still parts of ministry and a pastor's life that you will never understand until you are a pastor.

    I have also been on committees before I became a pastor and I am sorry but being on a committee does not make pastoring like a walk in the park.

    Yep I do believe we allow disagreement here.
     
  14. Timtoolman

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    SBC I was talking a UAW represenative or as we call them committee/person. And unless you walk in their shoes you have no comparison! I would take the challenge if you lived closer to let you walk a day in the shoes of a committee person. You would run as fast as you could back to your pastor postion and praise God for your calling.

    Reading that first line from your post again SBC you may have a pt. Maybe my father protected us from alot. I don't see how because we are family but maybe.
    I would like to ask those on here who are pastors what they think makes their job so hard as to be one of the most difficult jobs today?
     
  15. PastorSBC1303

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    I would not leave my ministry as pastor for anything. I love every minute of it, but it does have many ups and downs that those who are not in the middle of it cannot understand.
     
  16. PastorSBC1303

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    Start a new thread, I think we are getting away from the intent of the OP.
     
  17. Timtoolman

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    Copout.
     
  18. PastorSBC1303

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    If you are really interested in that question, then start a new thread. I would be happy to discuss it, but not in this thread. Sorry.
     
  19. Timtoolman

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    Done. Sorry TatarTot if I hijacked the thread. Moderator can delete my messages to clean up board.
    Thanks,
    Tim
     
  20. gb93433

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    Evry job has its ups and downs. Many of those are directly related to a person's ability to relate to people. Too often churches have people who act like idiots and would never have the guts to say something to their employer that they would say to a pastor.

    I have never been called to go to someone's home in the middle of the night because someone died or was upset when I was in the business world. I have been self employed longer than employed by someone else and it has its challenges. Being a pastor is like being self employed and having a rope tied to you by the leaders of the church. Most people in churches have never been self employed and do not have a clue what it is like to budget their own time and get a job done. Yet it is so often those very types who do not lead in the business world who try to tell the pastor how his job should be done.

    Those who are business leaders seldom create problems. They are leaders and recognize other leaders. Then there are thsoe who think they are leaders when they really are not.

    I found that when I was near graduation from seminary and looking for a pastorate that quite a number of church leaders were intimidated by a person who had been self employed and before that had managed a very large business. While pastoring I found it rather difficult to deal with church leaders who had never led in the world in their own professsions. On the flip side, I found it easy to recruite godly business leaders to help me and lead others in the church.

    A pastor's job is made most difficult by the diversity of people ranging from those who are gossipers to those are great godly people. A pastor must deal with a diversity of personalities, different levels of spiritual commitment, the antagonists and those who are eager to grow and learn.
     

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