Friday, September 16, 2016

Serving Those Who Serve

Christ Church is hosting the Great Lakes Presbytery this weekend. Presbytery is a time when Ruling Elders and Teaching Elders come together to conduct business like approving ministerial candidates or overseeing church plants. It is also a crucial time for these men to connect in order to edify one another and to seek the Lord in prayer.

From where I sit, it is hard to overestimate the importance of the latter. This past week another prominent pastor stepped down from his ministry post. Pastor Pete Wilson, of Cross Point church in Tennessee had this to say:

“Most of you in this church only experience what I do on Sundays.... You just see me when I kind of come up here on Sundays but the reality is as leader and the pastor of a church, what happens in between those Sundays is just as important and it requires a lot of leadership and it requires a lot of leadership energy. And leaders in any realm of life, leaders who lead on empty don’t lead well and for some time now I’ve been leading on empty. And so I believe that the best thing for me to do is to step aside from Cross Point and so I am officially resigning as the pastor of Cross Point Church.”

Statistics of pastors leaving the ministry vary, but all indicators are that sustaining ministry for the long haul is an increasing challenge. Anecdotally, without pausing to think, I could list you a dozen friends or former colleagues who are out of the ministry for one reason or another. Pressure from the culture, pressure from churches, pressures at home, all play a role in the dissolution of ministries. I recently was made aware of a study that indicated as many as 80% of pastor’s wives struggle with depression. Even if that number is slightly elevated, it is illustrative of a life in which the spouse is often moving and living in an area without supports, where by default they become the nuclear dumping ground for the pastor’s frustrations, they feel the relational tensions of the church but often have no outlet for resolving them, etc...

The point? Pastors, wives and other ministry leaders need to be ministered to as well. This is our focus as we host the GLP this weekend and have invited wives to participate. Pray for us as we come together to eat, pray, worship, share, and conduct business. Like you, ministry leaders need to hear again and again the good, good story of the Gospel.

This week one of Christ Church’s faithful sent me a link to a song by Andrew Peterson that really ministered to him. He called it a “preacher’s song,” meaning that it set the path for preachers to keep reminding the congregation of “the Story” to which we belong. What he probably wasn’t thinking of is how right he is in calling it a “preacher’s song,” for chief among God’s people, we need the story. Let me close with the chorus to “I Will Survive”:

So tell me the story I still need to hear
Tell me we’re gonna make it out alive again
I need to know there’s nothing left to fear
There’s nothing left to hide
So will you look me in the eye
And say we will survive

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