Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Relational Vitality for the Long Haul!

Reading time: two minutes. One of the most common words in the New Testament is one that I’ve already used twice in this one sentence.  Oops.  Now it’s three times.  Did you catch it?  The word is “one”.  It’s used more

WordCloud New Testament

often than words like “faith”, “heaven”, “believe” and “holy”. In one way of looking at it, the world was fractured by sin; God’s mission is to make all things one again.  Paul wrote that the mystery of God’s will is “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Ephesians 1:10). We’re better when we’re united as one.  Strong relationships can make all the difference in our striving for long, fruitful years in ministry.  I think it happens on many levels. At the level of relationships closest to home, it happens in marriage.  As I look back on my decades in ministry, the hardest times were when my marriage and family life suffered.  Likewise, I know for certain that I would not have endured without the love, support, grace and prayers of my wife, Carol, and of our children.  (Happy 40th, Carol!) An investment in our marriages and family life is an investment in long term ministry.  When we’re one at home it makes a big difference in joy, enthusiasm and endurance. On a more macro level, living as one as a synod and district and within our circuits is a tremendous source of joy and encouragement.  We need each other.  Division causes stress.  Mutual love and encouragement amongst the Lord’s servants brings strength.  Part of Elijah’s healing in 1 Kings 19 was the gift of a partner, Elisha, and the promise of 7000 who were still on his side. Maybe more than anything else, the unity of the local congregation makes a huge difference in the longevity of a pastor’s ministry.  Where pastor and people are one in spirit, in love and in service, the ministry flourishes and so does the pastor. A wise seminary professor told me that most pastors leave a congregation because of conflict, and often it’s conflict with just a few people in the church.  Paul’s advice to the Ephesians, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” holds true today. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll talk about how we can strive to keep that unity that contributes to long careers in ministry. Thanks for reading!   Subscribe to Blog   Our ministry is made possible by the generous donations of people just like you. Click here to discover how simple it is to make your gift of any size to Grace Place Wellness. Do you know someone who might be interested in becoming a major benefactor to sponsor a retreat in your area? Our President/CEO Randy Fauser would love to hear from you today!