Episode 059: Why Pastors Want to Quit

In this episode we sit down to talk about some of the things that make pastors want to quit the ministry, and what we can do about it.

One of the things I’ve seen is that pastors are discouraged… social media gives people the ability to give immediate feedback, and hardly ever is it positive…

 Another reason I hear more and more is that pastors are under financial pressure… they’re asked to do an enormous task, and many of them are underpaid… 

The onus is really on the board or eldership to figure out what is fair compensation for your pastor, because you want to keep them around…

There’s a great amount of comparison that happens with pastors… “Why aren’t you more like the famous pastor [I just watched on the internet]?”

The competitive spirit is ruining a lot of pastor’s souls… if you’re not careful to manage that in your heart, if it is the dominant voice you hear in the morning, you will drive yourself off a cliff…

The amount of family pressure pastors feel is another factor… oftentimes the church does not allow the pastor a place to openly confess brokenness… so pastors begin to go underground, to alcohol or drugs to medicate the pain…

It takes something like 200 leisure hours to form a close friendship… a lot of time as pastors what we have are ministry friends… and that’s good… but what we need are friendships that exist beyond the church…

We need to have robust interests in other things… I have a group of guys I go away with each summer for a week, where we play golf, eat, and catch up with one another… talking about things that detox all of our souls… 

It’s important not to over-invest meaning into this calling… if something overly encourages or overly discourages us about the church, it is an indication we are getting too much of our identity from it…

Episode 049: When Is It Time To Resign?

In this episode we sit down to talk about what qualifies and disqualifies a person for ministry. How do you know when it’s time to resign? What kinds of structure and culture do we need to have in our churches to keep them and those who lead them healthy over time?

 

 

God is not after perfection, but he is after holiness… I’m concerned that we’ve lowered the standards of holiness in the church… which means we’re holding leaders everywhere else in our culture to lower standards…

 

In our media-driven culture, we no longer look to 1stTimothy 3 and Titus 1… instead we ask, “Can this person light the stage up?”

 

We made a decision here at New Life that when we ask a guest speaker to come to our conference or church or to impart to our people in any way, we are asking, “Is their character intact?” Sometimes that has meant we don’t invite people…

 

The problem is there are fewer and fewer spiritual moms and dads in the church… we have a lot of young men and women leading the church now with no spiritual moms and dads in their lives…

 

What holds the church together over time is lives that are rooted in Christ Jesus… genuinely righteous lives… if you don’t have those kinds of folks in leadership, the thing will ultimately blow apart…

 

When you have unrepentant sin in your life, where you get caught and you aren’t repentant… where you made efforts to hide it, conceal it, to live a double life… that is a sign that something is really broken inside of you and you need to step away…

 

The world is watching…. and one of the reasons the church has lost so much influence in the culture is that we have not handled our scandals well…

 

Abuses of sex, money, and power are disqualifiers… but also heresy… knowing that you are wrong but continuing to teach it… all of a sudden these people becomes apostles of a new theological movement, standing against the great tradition and doing it defiantly… when you catch a pastor in this kind of condition, it’s time for them to resign…

 

You can scour the documents of the early church all you want, and you won’t find a coordinated evangelistic strategy… mostly the church leaders minded the integrity of their common life… when we mind the integrity of our common life, it’s actually our best ‘growth’ strategy…  

 

Churches that do not have clear government structures inside and outside, I would avoid… a church that doesn’t have a discernible network of elders within and a discernible group on the outside that can hold it to account—chances are it won’t be safe long term…

Episode 044: The Pastor in Relationship

In this episode, we sit down to talk about the kinds of relationships pastors need to cultivate in order to live and lead from a healthy place.

 

This is particularly tricky for young pastors or church planters… on one level, this is the last question you think about – who’s leading me, who’s caring for me?

 

Part of the reason this is so tricky is that there’s a power differential here… it can make it tricky to know what you’re seeing with people… are people drawing near to us because they care for us, or because they need us?

 

Only recently have I begun to think about the kinds of relationships I need… it’s not just about “having friends”… maybe we need to think of the pastor like Frodo Baggins… on the quest, you need several different kinds of people around you…

 

We need relationships inside the community certainly, but also relationships outside the community in order to stay healthy… keeping this in the right balance is crucial…

 

There’s already a distance between the pulpit and the pew in the very first interaction that people have with us… sometimes we unwittingly increase that gap… but we can also intentionally decrease that distance…

 

A spiritual director is someone that you see not exclusively when you’re in crisis… they are someone to help you see and pay attention to what is going on in your life, and even to bear witness to that…

 

What happens to us when we don’t have real relationships is that we become a parody of ourselves… we start being our persona and cease being the person God made us to be…

 

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are still the best index of whether or not we are healthy…

 

Episode 023: Spiritual Authority

Spiritual Authority is a significant biblical concept that recognizes that God sends people into our lives to speak to us and guide us. In this essential conversation, we talk about the importance of spiritual authority, why people don’t accept it, and how, when it is done right, it can be a beautiful gift.

 

Episode 023 – SHOW NOTES – Spiritual Authority

 

Spiritual authority is an awareness that God has placed people in my life to help guide me to the place that the Lord has directed me… It is because of the frailty of human life that we need people around us to help us see our blind spots…

 

We have created an entire generation of consumer believers who come to church because it’s convenient or feels good, but the moment someone begins speaking directly to them, they flee to the next church down the street… this has damaged the message of the gospel…

 

You only have as much authority as you are willing to submit to… everyone wants to be in charge… but delegated spiritual authority is given to us when we are found trustworthy by the Lord… he can’t trust us with leadership if we aren’t willing to serve our way into it…

 

Jesus was constantly telling his disciples: do not fight your way to the top, don’t demand to be in charge, don’t demand the spotlight… if you want to be great, you must serve your way there…

 

If people are talking more about the person who preached the sermon than on the Christ that was preached in the sermon, you need to flee and go to another place… there is a cult of personality happening in the church now that is hurting us… it’s a sign that the leaders of that church are probably not submitted to healthy, biblical authority…

 

The only way you know whether you are really submitted to authority is if someone can tell you “no”… I have some great mentors in my life, and if any of them told me not to do something, I would hit the brakes… if my wife said to me about something “Don’t do it,” I wouldn’t…

 

The three areas we need input and oversight are: your personal life, your theology, and your money/spending (both inside the church and in your house)…

 

A lot of leaders fall into this trap of being “the God expert,” and so they don’t feel like they have permission to question or doubt or wrestle with the deep, troubling questions of Scripture… pastors need people to bounce [theological/interpretive] ideas off of…

 

The way we spend our money reflects our hearts… pastors are notorious for saying this to their congregations, but often we ask it of ourselves because we don’t have anyone challenging us on it…

 

The devil works in the silences, and when you can invite trusted, wise counselors into the silences, the enemy’s power is broken off of us…

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • Does your church have a healthy culture of spiritual authority?
  • Do you have people who can tell you “no”? Who are they?
  • Which of the three areas of accountability discussed in the podcast are most difficult for you? How can you grow in that area?

Episode 014: Avoiding Cynicism in Ministry

As leaders in the local church, we inevitably encounter criticism from within our congregations and from the outside world. In this week’s conversation, we talk about some ways of addressing this criticism in a Godly way, as well as some ways to protect ourselves from encountering criticism unnecessarily.

 

Episode 014 – Avoiding Cynicism in Ministry – SHOW NOTES

 

There is an ounce of truth in every pound of criticism…I’ve learned over the years that if I keep hearing consistent criticism…there’s probably some truth in it…

 

The vocation we have chosen opens us up to a lot of criticism…pastors need to find a group of trusted friends [to help them discern the truth]…

 

Social media is a modern calamity for pastors…it gives people the ability to immediately criticize and vocalize their discontent…

 

One of the things I’ve learned is that there are certain times in my week when I need to shut down social media…pastors need to be disciplined to stay away from the vitriol of social media…

 

There’s a time to be a shepherd of the sheep…I do not respond to personal attacks out of the pulpit, but I will get up and defend the church…

 

Find the truth in every part of criticism, don’t immediately dismiss it; surround yourself with life-giving people; and honor the Sabbath, make sure you are completely filled up with the presence of Jesus when you get up to preach…

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM

  • How are you doing with responding to criticism?
  • Who are your trusted friends who can help you discern the truth in criticism?
  • When are you most vulnerable to criticism? What can you do to become more disciplined?

Episode 008: Restoring Fallen Leaders

In this episode, we’re joined by two incredible leaders, Pastor Jimmy Evans and Pastor Tom Lane. Not only have they led faithfully in local churches for most of their lives, they’ve also played integral roles in restoring fallen leaders back to health. So we sat down with them and asked them to share their wisdom. We pray that it blesses and encourages you.

 

Episode 008 – Restoring Fallen Leaders

 

Repentance is everything… everything is possible when you’re dealing with a repentant leader

 

Don’t go faster than the heart of the person you are trying to restore… 100% of my response [as a leader seeking to help restore another leader] depends on the person’s heart…

 

The sin did not happen overnight… so to expect an instantaneous restoration is unfair and impossible… the foundations of people’s lives need to be rebuilt…

 

The goal is not just to restore them to ministry but to restore them to being a healthy human…

 

The temptation is to try to deal with this from the perspective of “How quickly can we get everything back the way it was?” This is not the goal if you are focused correctly. We’re trying to restore you to your loving relationship with God…

 

There are four things you have to do when there’s been a failure: 1) stabilize the situation, 2) walk in a process of [adapting to] the new reality, 3) reactivate your giftedness, not for vocational purposes but for volunteer purposes, 4) move into a vocation that God opens up…

 

Under the best scenarios, it’s usually about six months per step, IF the person is humble, broken, yielded to God, and submitted…

 

When the person in authority is the one who created the offense, they cannot stay in the home of the people they’ve hurt… for the body to heal and for him to heal, they need to go to a separate place to get healing…

 

In every restoration, there has to be a public repentance to the extent that the offense was public… and afterward, there is a public act of forgiving that leader…

 

The fallen leader has a responsibility to show repentance, and the church has a responsibility to show grace… with those two things in place, we can see miracles happen…

 

 

RESOURCES

Pure Desire Ministries – puredesire.org

Gateway Network – gatewaynetwork.com

Tom’s Book – Foundations of Healthy Church Government