Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ministry Fatigue...

Everyone I talk to lately is tired, whether it’s of work, family problems, church obligations or just plain life. There is an overwhelming exhaustion that seems to be symptomatic of something deeper within gnawing at our lives. The ironic behavior that comes from being tired is to engage in more busyness! I very seldom hear people say: “I’m tired; I’m going home to be still for as long as I can. I’ll read, listen to music, pray, meditate anything but run around.” If anyone suggests that you take a break the response is somewhat familiar: “But you don’t understand I have to work for a living” or “I’m on the committee for all the committees and they need me” or “I promised I would (insert good deed for the day here)” or “my church needs me, I’m the only one who knows how to…” Really?

So there’s no down time, whatsoever? No quiet moments listening to God before dashing out the door to save the world? No meditation? NADA?  No wonder everyone is so short fused lately. Who’s doing the listening?

Christians are absolutely the worst for feeling like what we do cannot be done by anyone else or that every task that we take on is holy and God ordained. News flash, it’s probably not. It’s probably something that you agreed to do because it would please someone else who you really admire or bring you into the next big position that you’ve wanted for sooo long or worst of all, you’re just afraid to say no.

Have you been pining away at a certain spotlight that you would love to step into so that everyone can finally see how anointed, blessed, gifted and called you are? Is there a ministry within you that needs birthing and you think that there is only one delivery room and it is manned by the church? If that’s the case, be prepared to be in labor for a long time. Do you know how many pregnant visionaries there are inside those walls? Get in line and take slow deep breaths but in the meantime, be prepared to be exhausted.

God has a habit of pulling people aside to be alone with Him before launching them into ministry. Ask David, Moses, Abraham, all the prophets and oh yeah, ask Jesus. None of these men by today's standards would be considered qualified for ministry at the time when God called them. Jesus would probably be considered far too radical to run a congregation.

The church has a habit of running people through a battery of tests, which usually consists of running various and sundry ministries or at the very least assisting in various and sundry ministries, until one has proven their worthiness to hold the beloved title of: 
Pastor GotalottodofortheLordbutnotimetobewithhim.  

Can you see the stark contrast?

With God’s method of “promotion” He pours into us, instills His love for us and teaches us from His Holy olyHHmouth in the most intimate way.

Man’s method, takes time from us, asks more of us and leaves us feeling depleted and asking God why all the time. Usually, in the end we don’t even know if we want to be involved in any ministry, let alone the one we we’re pining after.

Since I've been on my new path, I've wondered several times why we Christians and the church in general choose to do things completely opposite of Jesus example in the Bible

Jesus loved everyone.  It seems that today’s Christianity feels the need to label everyone.

Jesus broke bread and accepted those that we would call sinners and allowed His love to cover them until they were in step with Him. Today, one must prove themselves first a convert in order to be accepted into “the house of the Lord”.

Jesus was in direct opposition to religious rituals that kept to the law and made the word of God to no effect. Fast forward to today’s church and just try to scramble a Sunday morning worship service in order to allow the Holy Spirit to speak. And let’s not get started on the subject of who The Holy Spirit really is.

Jesus chose the motley 12 to walk closest with him with no regards to resume, Bible training, spiritual enrichment seminars or recommendations from their former pastors. I think you and I know that this concept wouldn't even get past the committee meeting, let alone put in practice.

Sidebar: the reason Jesus could do something so bold as to choose “unqualified” men to walk with him closely is because He could discern their hearts. Discernment is missing in many churches and has been replaced with being impressed by credentials.

Last but not least, Jesus got away to be alone with His Father, to hear His voice and be refreshed. It was during His most crucial hour on earth that Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pour his heart out to God and receive strength for His crucifixion. We often remember that He begged for the cup of death to pass before Him, I believe that it was in the moment of “nevertheless” that He received His strength.

Why would these distinct behaviors and characteristics of Christ be highlighted in the Bible only to be ignored thousands of years later? Why is the model of Christ and the early church (the one birthed on the day of Pentecost) obsolete today? Who are we to insist that Christ’s way wasn't effective enough and that love alone is too weak a motivator to change lives?

I shudder to think that many of today’s decisions are being made by too many corporate Pastors with boardroom behavior who are worn out and spiritually depleted, instead of being prayed over with passion and hunger, while being away with God on a constant basis and not just during yearly retreats.

Daily respite, constant hunger for God’s voice and the need to be alone with Abba is the only way that we will spiritually survive in a task driven world.

In a nutshell: Busyness is not close to Godliness…

“Martha, Martha you are worried and upset about many things but only one thing is necessary, Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her.” Matthew 


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Daphine. I believe that this is a subject most Christians can relate to.

  2. I recently attended a conference and the speaker was talking about the model Jesus displayed from a leadership perspective. Jesus had a core group (3) who were closer to him than the other disiples. He Then had the collective group (12) who received the "vision". They in turn anointed the 70 do do the work of carrying out the vision. The harvest is ripe, but the laborers are few. It takes people to be discipled and trained, so they can then go out to the highways and byways. I do agree that too much activity is done "at the church". People can be so busy with church stuff, that they neglect other stuff. I was one of those Christians and I had to learn to hear from God as to what He was calling me to do, not respond to a cry for help because I was being a "team player". One gem from the Global Leadership Conference was not to promote people based on their past performance, but on the potential you see within them. As usual, good insights and thoughts that need to be shared.

  3. Thanks Bev. That "cry for help" is sometimes hard to ignore when it is accompanied with guilt and laced with scripture. We must know the voice of God as individuals in order to be a more effective "church".