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me-and-popsI’m so blessed to have both my parents living and that we have an open, loving relationship.  It enriches my life and gives me so much support – just knowing they love me and are there for me.  I hope I can do the same for them!

I recently emailed my dad with some frustrations about being in the pastorate and comparing the “fruit” of our ministry with others I see.  Probably in every career are the moments when you question yourself and whether or not you’re in the right career or position.  Am I doing a good job?  Am I suited for this?  Am I a total flop?

My dad sent these wise words of encouragement to me.  He has been a pastor for more than 40 years so he knows a thing or two about it.   As I read his response God reminded me that it’s not about me.  Too much self-focus, even self-evaluation, leads to self-centeredness and is definitely not the way to please God or serve him effectively!  Here is what he said:

“Things to ask yourself, think about…  Was I called to ministry? What was it God called me to do? Did he call me to have a church of a certain size or did he call me to minister to people? In 1 Timothy 4 and 6 Paul counsels Timothy to be faithful, not successful.

What are the characteristics of the congregation I am currently leading? Congregations go through various cycles that have little to do with our leadership. Before you arrived on the scene at your church, the stage was set for exactly what has happened…[some of the changes, losses, transition] was inevitable.

We go through stages, too. There’s no way I could do now what we did when at [a previous church]. I don’t have the energy any more.

We must not be ashamed of who we are or what God is doing. Are you not praying for growth?  Are you not doing everything you know to do? You can be comfortable with that. The success of the church does not rest on your shoulders. It’s God’s church.”

These are some things to ponder on and pray about.  The enemy is sneaky and uses even these types of questions to get us off track – to cause us to worry about our image – to infect us with more pride.  God, help me die to myself more, to the need for approval from people and the world.  I’d really like to grow past this and move on!  Please direct me and John and help us to be faithful and obedient to what you truly want us to do.  Today.  Always.