written by: Warren Wiersbe
Ministers are human beings, made of dust, subject to the same forces that discourage and destroy the men and women who sit in the pews. For some reason, many church members have the idea that their pastor is exempt from personal pressures and problems-or that he has a secret system for overcoming the difficulties of life and ministry. He does not.
The tragedy is not that pastors collapse, bum out or even fail. The tragedy is that too many sincere Christian workers bring these things on themselves. How? By failing to detect, identify and deal with the elements that make up the “formula for frustration.” Here they are:
But goals must be sensible and reachable; otherwise, we only tempt God. If you determined this year’s goals after listening to a super-pastor at a conference, give serious thought to revising them. If you measure your ministry on the basis of unreachable goals, you are bound to give up or become impossible to live with – or both!
Make a list of the things you as pastor must do, and schedule regular time for these tasks: your personal devotional life, family time, study, sermon preparation, administration and so on. Try to do your vital sermonic “spadework” two weeks in advance, just in case there is an emergency. (There usually is.) When you find yourself fighting time, you know you have put too much on the calendar and you cannot do your best.
Sometimes it’s good to have a blind eye and a deaf ear and not take too seriously what some people in the church say and do. This does not mean we are careless in our pastoral work; it only means we don’t try to use a cannon to kill a flea. If you take too personally what people say, you will become a nervous wreck. Many of these people will not change – and they will act the same way toward the next pastor! It isn’t your fault. Stop feeling guilty.
In time, some people and situations will start to change. Never give up! A friend used to say to me, “Just preach and pray and plug away!” Excellent counsel – and it works!
He walks and works by faith and leaves the consequences with God. He does not measure his ministry by the number of success cases in his files. He accepts the sad fact that some folks don’t want their problems solved; they need their problems to give them a feeling of importance. Jesus could not do many miracles in Nazareth, His hometown, because the people would not believe. Where does that leave us?
George Morrison has said that God rarely allows His servants to see how much good they are doing, so you will have to work by faith and leave the results with Him. We’ll get the report and the reward when we stand before Him in Glory, not one minute before. Meanwhile, let’s not permit these four “frustration factors” to add to our burdens and rob us of joy and power in our ministry.
©2004 Warren W. Wiersbe, used by permission.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).