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Facing Ministry Challenges

Encouraging Renewal in You and Others. Facing Ministry Challenges. Philip G. Monroe, PsyD Biblical Seminary pmonroe@biblical.edu. Got Discouragement?. What is the biggest threat to encouragement in ministry? How do you combat it in your own life? How do you help others combat it?.

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Facing Ministry Challenges

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  1. Encouraging Renewal in You and Others Facing Ministry Challenges Philip G. Monroe, PsyD Biblical Seminary pmonroe@biblical.edu

  2. Got Discouragement? • What is the biggest threat to encouragement in ministry? • How do you combat it in your own life? • How do you help others combat it?

  3. Not really encouraging?

  4. Thesis: • Shepherds must establish consistent self-reflection and self-care in order to avoid being an impediment to the mission of God • The continuous demands of ministry (along with criticism and self-doubt) make it difficult to reflect, evaluate, and receive shepherding

  5. 3 Topics • Ministry stress is real…and deadly to the soul • Renewal practices work • 3 recommended practices you can use to support renewal in others

  6. One ministry leader: “I do not know where my work starts or where it ends.”

  7. Greatest Ministry Stressor? • ? • Unrealistic expectations by self and church (actual vs. ideal ministry duties) • 84% of pastors believe their family should be healthier than others

  8. Unrealistic expectations? • It is easy to maintain a robust prayer life • Ready for any challenge • Balance ministry and family demands • Pastor myself

  9. Key expectation • A robust personal prayer life • Only 16% of pastors “very satisfied” • 30% “dissatisfied” • Only 9% “very satisfied” under age 45 but 30% of those age 60+ • Only 5% of Presbyterians “very satisfied” • Avg prayer time? 39 min per day • 12 min. of requests, 8 min. listening, 7 min. thanksgiving, 7 min. praise, 5 min. confession • Presbyterians average 28 minutes in prayer From greymatterresearch.com 2005 survey of 868 Sr. pastors

  10. Key expectation • Prepared for challenges • 38% of evangelical churches have no budget for continued education • 46% report lack of support by church/denom. • Assumption: You have all you will ever need to minister well in a changing world • Corollary: You should be able to imbibe evil and not be unduly impacted See 2005 survey of 860 pastors at greymatterresearch.com

  11. Key expectation • Personal and family health • 71% of Sr. pastors are overweight by avg of 32 lbs • 9:10 get less sleep than national avg. • Vast majority rate their own family and marital health as very good, BUT… • most admit to spending too little time with family AND report… • 1:4 of peers have child discipline problems • 1:5 of peers have significant marital discord • Overestimating one’s own health?

  12. Key expectation • I can be a lone ranger! • 76% of time by self • 16% of time from family (spouse) • 8% of time from outside relationships • Note: only 7% would consider going to a counselor but 84% willing to refer a parishioner 2005 study by McMinn et al in Pastoral Psychology

  13. A recipe… • Expectations + stress + isolation = ? • tired, starving shepherds • Who do but cannot be • Did you know… • Stress from lack of social support is more predictive of negative mood and physical distress than is financial stress?

  14. Starving people tend to eat… • Wherever they find food • Control? • Escapism? • Perfectionism/Performance?

  15. Discouragers: Two known factors • Vision conflict • Self? • Ministry? • Family? • Burnout http://www.regent.edu/acad/global/pir/pir_v2.cfm

  16. Baptizing Your expectations • Introspective… or ruminative • Motivated… or ignoring limits • Visionary… or inflexible • Honest… or cynical

  17. The pastor’s fantasy? Worldliness is not the trap that most endangers us as Christian workers; nor is it sin. The trap we fall into is extravagantly desiring spiritual success; that is, success measured by, and patterned after, the form set by this religious age in which we now live.

  18. Chambers, continued ….Unless the worker lives a life that “is hidden with Christ in God,” he is apt to become an irritating dictator to others, instead of an active, living disciple. Many of us are dictators, dictating our desires to individuals and to groups. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, April 24

  19. Do you agree? • Pastors often lack a strong spiritual vision for their own formation amidst conflicting priorities • Chandler, “Pastoral Burnout…” Pastoral Psychology, 2009

  20. Three Essential practices • Spiritual renewal practices • Rest-taking practices • Support system practices • Hands & Fehr. Spiritual Wholeness for Clergy (1993)

  21. Stones of Remembrance • Write down your “stones” • Stories of God’s handiwork in your life • One long ago • One or two recent

  22. Bishop Moule Take care that no pre-occupation with things pastoral allows you to forget the supreme need of drawing out of Christ’s fullness, and out of the treasures of His Word, for your own soul and life, as if that were the one and solitary soul and life in existence.

  23. Hebrews 12 on Renewal • Hebrews 12:3: “Consider Him…so you will not grow weary and lose heart.” “What a strange cure for mental weariness….I should have expected an invitation to mental rest….The weariness of the body is cured by slumber; but the weariness of the mind can be cured only by stimulus.” George Matheson, Leaves for Quiet Hours, p. 141

  24. Consider • Be mindful not to rob God (Mal 3) by forgetting • God’s creative work around you (Ps. 8) • His kindness and sternness (Rom. 11) • Your stones of remembrance (1 Sam 7) • His Word • It takes practice and discipline to reorient our life around considering rather than accomplishments

  25. Reflections include • Remembrance (What is God doing?) • Reality (What do I really believe?) • Repentance(Do my private and public lives match?) • Repetition (Do I persevere?)

  26. Lesser Used Renewal Practices • Watchfulness • Silence • Rest

  27. Watchfulness • Mt 25:13: Therefore keep watch… • Just what am I trying to watch? • Watchfulness = intentional awareness • It is not passive but a way of construing the world (J. Wilhoit) • Watchfulness requires… • An unblinking focus • What logismoi do you “watch”?

  28. Moule: Solitude will not by itself, if I judge rightly, help him to secret intercourse with God. A feeling of solitude, under most circumstances, much more tends, by itself, to drive a man unhealthily inward, in unprofitable questionings and broodings, or in still less happy exercises of thought. Or it drives him unhealthily outward, quickening the wish for mere stimulants and excitements of mind and interest.

  29. Thesis Revisited • The continuous demands of ministry (along with criticism and self-doubt) make it difficult to reflect, evaluate, and receive shepherding without the help of others

  30. To: Timothy From: Mentor • Remember (ch. 1) • Act (ch. 2-3) • Be wary (ch. 4-6)

  31. Brain-storm • If Paul were writing to you, what dangers and admonitions would he give you? • What discipling have you received from another person in your life in 2010? • Question: Does anyone know you enough to write this? Who really disciples you?

  32. Supporting Renewal in Others • Setting Objectives • Eliminating Barriers • Spiritual Care Teams

  33. Spiritual Care Team • A team of wise prayer warriors not unwilling to wade into your life to act as shepherd and friend • SCTs function as your support, accountability, worship leader, and advisor

  34. Building an SCT • Who is able AND willing to give their time on a monthly basis? • Who is spiritually mature enough to listen and speak at the right times? • Both sexes should be involved. None should report to or be family members • Can’t find anyone?

  35. How the SCT should function • Meet to pray and worship • Meet with you to develop a sense of the issues and concerns: What questions, areas of concern, areas of joy, etc. • Follow-up with your schedule, your family, etc. • Meet with your family

  36. Questions to ask? • Content of concerns and ruminations • Where did you see God at work in your life? • Temptations? • What needs to be removed from your schedule? Added?

  37. SCTs fail when… • You aren’t honest with them • They are too enamored with your position • They are too enamored with their own advice or legalistic • It functions like a committee instead of care team • Prayer is an afterthought

  38. Professional Care? • Should you pay for spiritual care? • Barriers in you and your church • Benefits? • Drawbacks? • 1,000 dollar budget line? • Spiritual direction • Preventive counseling

  39. We are the Lord’s Ministers; we have a cure and charge of souls as the unordained Christian has not; and let us remember it, humbly and reverently. But also we are, all the while, sheep of the flock… Bishop Handley Moule, To My Younger Brethren

  40. Group Discussions • What hinders us from building spiritual care teams • External? Internal? • What renewal opportunities are available to me that I need to start using? • Daily? Sabbatical? Educational? • Group? Discipleship? • What family renewal opportunities do I need?

  41. Want the Slides? • www.wisecounsel.wordpress.com • Facing Ministry Challenges • Email • pmonroe@biblical.edu

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