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I once heard someone say discouragement is the “occupational hazard” of ministry. They’re right. Especially on a Monday.
In a park aptly named “Trinity,” I had my head down—literally and figuratively—as I journaled my discouragements and prayers, crying out in Davidic fashion: How long, O Lord?
Years - Church - Downtown - Fort - Worth
We were three years into planting a church in downtown Fort Worth. Some core-team members—close friends—had just left, and the largely unseen fruit of our ministry didn’t seem worth the exhaustion.
Little did I know that I was about to get a kidney stone, then shingles, and then have to shepherd people through some difficult church-discipline cases. So I wondered if I should just bounce and go pastor an established church where things would be “easier.”
Patience - God - Power
Godly patience requires God’s power.
But then God met me in my discouragement. My journal entry from that day reads: “God didn’t bring me to this church plant to be awesome, succeed, and never suffer. He did it because I would get more of him. Stop asking all the suffering and discouragement to go away, and rejoice in his grace to press me more and more into him.”
Day - Ministry - Place
From that day I committed myself to patient, long-suffering, long-term ministry in one place.
In his letter to the church at Colossae, Paul prays a strange prayer: that God’s people would have power to be patient: “According to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy . . .” (Col. 1:11). Really? Do we seriously need God’s power just to be patient? According to Paul, the answer is yes. Godly patience requires God’s power. This is especially true in church planting.
Leaders - Term - Term
It’s been said that younger leaders tend to overestimate what they can do in the short term and underestimate what they can accomplish in the long term. I think this is one of the most...
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