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Lesson Four: Don't Try Ministry Alone!

Even Han Solo had partners

Ministry is hard enough without the self-inflicted wounds we endure far too often. Among them is trying to do everything all by ourselves. I know I’m dating myself with the 1970’s cultural reference, (being a 1950’s guy, my first thought was the Lone Ranger), but even Han Solo didn’t fly solo! He had a band of friends, partners in the mission, and every one of them was necessary to reach their ultimate goal.

Unnecessary STRESS

A wise person said that S.T.R.E.S.S. stands for Someone Trying to Resolve Every Situation Solo. Not only is that a bad idea. It’s bad theology. There are certain parts of the work of the local congregation that only the Pastor can do, matters of life together as the body of Christ that are assigned by God, affirmed in the New Testament, as the responsibility of called, ordained leadership. That’s your job. That’s good theology and good practice. But doing everything alone is just wrong.

“Mutual encouragement”

Romans 1 is rich with the gospel of grace. As I work with congregations and their leaders, I’ve found a new favorite passage. Typical for a pastor, Paul writes in verse 11, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong.” Of course you do. You’re a pastor! Here’s the good part. Paul gets it. He’s not in this alone. The Church is a body of many parts. We need each other. Notice verse 12, often overlooked in this beautiful scripture. “…that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” What?!? Pastors need a spiritual gift imparted by the people to make them strong too?

Blessing and being blessed

Recent topics in this series have been painful to write, because they were painful for me to learn in thirty years of parish leadership, and I expect they have been painful to hear. We’d all love a life of sunshine and rainbows, of rapturous success in ministry, but following Jesus is The Way of the Cross. We’re tempted to think we can handle it all on our own, but for those in ministry, Overwhelmed Is a Way of Life The reality is that those who are called to bear the blessing of God to others are in need of a regular diet of blessing themselves.

Let them know your heart

At Grace Place Wellness we define Intellectual Wellness as mutual curiosity about one another driven by the fruit of the Spirit which is kindness. We can’t be a mutual blessing unless we know one another; each other’s dreams, passions, hurts and fears. Let the people know you. In a climate of trust, respect, love and maturity, it’s critical for the leaders in your church, and for the whole church really, to know your heart. You listen to them because you care. Find those who care about you enough to listen to your story with compassion and to come alongside you as a blessing sent from God. Don’t try this alone. Thanks for reading. “Don’t Try This Alone” is Lesson Four in, “Reclaiming the Joy of Ministry: The Grace Place Way to Church Worker Wellness” a new book from Grace Place Wellness Ministries coming in January.