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Out of Gas: How the Latest Oil Crisis Relates to Ministry

More than a thousand gas stations ran out of fuel last Tuesday as a result of a cyber-attack on Colonial Pipeline, a private company that controls the largest pipeline in the United States.

As a result, a number of people had to deal with gas lines and shortages in several southeastern states. A number of governors declared emergencies due to the crisis.

We had our largest pipeline cut off for days. The energy we needed could not get through to our gas stations. We had the gas, but it was cut off. In ministry, we can have the feeling that we have been cut off from what is vital for us in God’s work. If you are involved in any kind of ministry, you will face the inevitable feeling of being out of gas.

Let’s consider what can be cut off that leads us to the feeling of being out of gas:

1) Lack of hope.

When we lose hope that things could change for the better, we are going to run out of gas. We will lose the strength we need to carry on with joy and enthusiasm. When I hear a pastor say, “I have lost hope that things are going to get any better here in this church,” I know that leader is in trouble. When a church body thinks this way, it is in deep trouble. When hope is fading, it’s difficult to keep going in an effective way.

2) Lack of gratefulness.

When we take life for granted along with our simple blessings, we will forget the goodness of God. I Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The more thankful we are leads us to a greater sense of contentment.

3) Lack of support.

If we lead without key support and encouragement, we will run out of gas. We need to be surrounded by enough key people who will encourage along the way. The more alone we are, the more prone we will be to running out of gas. I’ve learned over the years that you cannot have too much support.

4) Lack of joy.

When ministry becomes misery most of the time, something is wrong. We need God’s joy to energize us. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” God’s joy is strengthened through our daily study and delight in His word. Those who are dedicated to the daily study of God’s word put themselves in the position to receive His joy.

5) Lack of rest.

We will run out of gas without rest and renewal. God gave us one day out of seven to rest. If we push ourselves to work for the Lord every day, then we are disobeying one of His commands. We were not created to live without rest. We need to get away from time to time for rest and renewal.

6) Lack of humility.

It is sad that we often hear about pastors who leave the ministry as a result of pride and arrogance. It has been said that power corrupts and “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” said British politician Lord Acton in the 19th century. When pastors seek to lord it over others, it never ends well. According to I Peter 5, we are to lead by serving with humility.

7) Lack of accountability.

We were never meant to go at this task alone. We need one another. The more accountability we have, the greater our chance will be for effective ministry.

Still Waters Renewal exists to provide pastors, missionaries and leaders a place to get away for rest, renewal, fun and healing. We operate out of Moro Bay State Park several times a year. We are branching out this year to offer a week of retreat in Branson on September 12-17. We only have a few spots available, so sign up today!

Jim Daniel


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