Friday, May 29, 2009

How Well are We Doing at Supporting Our Pastors?

In a time when churches are shutting down (4,000 in US last year) and pastors are leaving ministry (1,700 every month last year) we need to rethink this thing we call ministry.

“Last year 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month, many without cause,” Pastoral Care Inc. We find that many denominations cannot find the pastors they need, to fill pulpits of churches. According to Pastoral Care Inc. the number one reason pastors leave the ministry is because the church is not willing to go in the same direction and goal as the pastor.

As a minister and wife of a pastor for twenty-two years I understand these statistics; but something has got to be done to help turn this around.
When ministers first enter ministry they are all excited, they are passionate about the calling God has placed in their heart, and even stick it out for a few years, before they get totally discouraged. It is now said that 50% of all ministers will not last five years in ministry. (That use to be the number youth pastors would move from one ministry to the next.) We also can say that one out of every ten ministers will actually retire as a minister in one form or another. That number is astonishing.

These next numbers made me totally break down crying when I was reading them to my husband…”80% of pastors believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor’s children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents,” and “33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family,” Pastoral Care Inc. Over the past three years we have had the privilege of sitting under a ministry in Virginia Beach that totally changes this statistic. (If you want more info you can contact me personally at the number or email address below.)

As I look at those statistics, I do realize we are becoming more aware of this, due to the teaching of leaving a legacy and passing leadership on to the generations; but how well are we doing this? I believe that, too often, we mean well and have good intentions, but miss out because we are not willing to do what it takes to move us forward.

God is moving and doing some awesome things in churches that are willing to change their outlook of how they see the pastor and his family. As I did an in depth study on the Book of Acts, studying the early church and how they developed, I took a serious look at how we have developed church. Are we following the example of Peter and Paul? Have we taken what they have shown us and developed the way we think it should look; or are we truly laying aside our desires and really seeking God’s direction?

You see, the early church heard what the apostles were saying and followed their lead. Church, are we looking at our pastor and truly listening to what he/she is saying; and doing and living the way they admonish us? Pastors, are we unreservedly seeking God’s wisdom, not our own, and developing the church of Christ the way He wants? We all need to work together, developing a mighty force that satan cannot reckon with. The only way to do this is by trusting our pastors to lead us, and allowing them the freedom to take us where God desires. If we, as a church, can do this, there is no stopping what God can do.

Pastors are sent to us by God to help us, not hurt us. Instead of being on the low end of respect (statistics show pastors to be near the bottom of most-respected professions, just above car salesman according to Pastoral Care Inc.) we need to respect them, just as we would Moses, David, Deborah, Peter, or Paul. No wonder we are in trouble. Pastors have the total health of the church in mind. They do not want to hurt congregations. Why is it that we have such a hard time truly trusting our leader?

I understand there have been those ministers who have taken advantage of congregations, but they are they the exception, not the norm.

I do not know who might be reading this, but I would like to challenge us to look at our heart. What do we think of our pastor and his/her family? Do we honor them? Do we make it easy for them to lead us, or do we make it hard? Your pastor is there because he/she felt a call of God to lead you, now can you trust them to do it and give them your total support?

Jesus came to give us a “more and better life than we ever dreamed,” Jn 10:10 The Msg. Our pastor is there to help us live out that life. Allow them the freedom to motivate and develop you into spiritual powerhouses transforming the world in which we live.

I pray that something I have written will encourage, motivate, and challenge us in how we do life and ministry. For more information on ways we are helping the pastor and family you can contact me at 757-343-7783 or by email at The statistics in this article are taken from

Monday, May 25, 2009

What is God Telling You to Do?

"'Peace be with you.' They thought they were seeing a ghost and were scared half to death. He continued with them, 'Don't be upset, and don't let all these doubting questions take over.'" Lk. 24:36-38 Msg

I have read that scripture many times, but never had it jump out like this time.

How many times has God called us to do something and we begin second guessing what He is telling us? Maybe we begin to worry about what other's may think. We may not want to step out and take the risk. It may be that we have become comfortable and satisfied with where we are, and what we are doing. We may even think the vision we have seen in our spirit, is just that...a dream that will never happen. We begin questioning the validity of our dream, our vision. It really scares us to look at our dream. We may even say it is for someone else.

Take Jesus' advice; "Don't be upset, and don't let all these doubting questions take over." He may have been talking to the disciples, but it is also for you and me. Jesus is telling us to not listen to the doubt. Don't question what He is telling us to do. Listen to His call, seek His word for direction, and talk to Him about the vision and dream He has placed in our heart.

He encouraged the disciples. He then commissioned them to share what they had been taught. He told them they were not to keep it to themselves. They were to share with others; starting local, then spreading out globally. Lk 24:44-53

Where are you right now in your life? Think about the vision God is giving you. Are you comfortable where you are in life and ministry; not allowing God to empart vision and dreams?

I would like to challenge you to start dreaming again. You may have had a few flashes of a dream, but brushed it aside, thinking it was impossible. It may have even frightened you because it seemed so out of line, with where you are in life right now. Think about that dream. What was it? What did God flash in your spirit?

Take time to spend time meditating on that dream. Ask God to give you wisdom. Read His Word and ask for clear direction, inspiration; and the courage to move forward in the dream He gave you.

Be encouraged! God knew He could entrust this dream with you or He would never have given it to you. You are not alone. There are women, men, and young people around the world He is entrusting with vision and dreams. May we rise up and do what He has called us to; an unstoppable force, advancing His Kingdom.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

God is a Big God: But How Big Do We Allow Him to Be in Our Lives?

I can't believe it is almost the end of May and I haven't written in my blog! The thought: "how big am I allowing God to be in my life," keeps going over and over in my head.

Sure, we all say we serve an awesome God, a big God; but do we really allow Him to be big in us? It is easy to say, but a little harder to do. Jesus, Himself, tells us how big God can be in our lives in John 14:12 of the NIV, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."

This scripture has stood out in my mind since I was a teenager, and that's a long time ago. We can do greater things than Jesus because He is going to be with His Father. If Jesus is telling us this, then I think our lives should exhibit the very essence of what God is about.

He is about changing lives from the inside out. He is about compassion. He is about grace. He is about forgiveness. He is about healing, both spiritually and physically.

Too often, I believe we get so caught up in the how of doing things we forget the why. We need to break free of what is holding us down and keeping us from allowing the bigness of God to overflow out of our lives.

In my own life, right now, I am having to daily remind myself of God's bigness in me. That means, allowing Him to work the everyday things of my life out for His glory and honor. I have to remind myself that God is big and He can work in ALL I allow Him the freedom to do just that.

So, how big is God in your life? Is there evidence that He is in control, not you? Is the very essence of God's greatness overflowing from your everyday activities?

Take time to think about how big God is in your life. He is only able to be as big as we allow Him to be.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Who's in Your Top Five?

Who do we share vision with while it is still being developed?

Do we keep it to ourselves?

Do we share a little at a time?

Who is in your circle of influence?

Who is in your top five?

These thoughts are important to the development of our dreams. If not thought through wisely, the outcome could hinder the birth and development of the dream itself.

Our dreams and vision are special to us. They mean a lot to us. They are part of our very being. When we share part of our vision we are sharing part of our heart; so we don't want to share it with someone who will take hearing it lightly. As you share from your heart you are taking a risk...

What if the person you are sharing it with laughs at your dream?

What if they think you are being unrealistic?

What if they think you are just out right stupid?

Those questions are what we have to take into consideration when we share. If we are not careful we may lose our dream and vision because of someone's remark. We may even make a remark to someone else about their dream and vision that might discourage them; so make it a point to always think before you respond to others. We do not want to be the one that bursts a dream in someone's life.

Jerimiah 29:11, "...plans to give you the future you hope for." The MSG

God wants us to succeed and be successful. We just have to be careful who we surround ourselves with and who we allow to influence us. There will be times when we have to pull away from people we have been around a long time. We may have to watch the amount of time we spend with family and friends, because they do not understand how we can expect the things we are expecting. They may not understand our dreams, so be careful how much you share. They may be well meaning, but they may hinder your progress because of the words they say to you.

God has a time for everything. Do not be discouraged if the dream or vision you have for your life isn't happening. God is working in ways you cannot always see. He is even working in your own life, preparing you for the fulfillment of those dreams. Don't be anxious. There are times I tell myself that. God knows more than you know about what He is doing. We simply have to trust and let Him do what He wants.

So, where are you in your your vision of what God has planned for you? If you're living your dream, don't get too comfortable, God is going to develop more dreams in your life. You have to be willing to allow Him free reign, to do as He pleases.

There is so much He has planned for our lives; we just have to be willing to be stretched, in what we allow Him to do in and through us.

Spend your day dreaming and envisioning your future. What is He saying to you? What is He wanting you to stretch and do? Are you ready and willing to see God move in you?

Well, what are you waiting for? Get going!