In my 36 years of being called pastor, I believe the number one problem we face is discouragement. The dictionary definition of discouragement is a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness. The reason for our discouragement will greatly vary among us. What discourages one may not discourage another. We all understand what it feels like to be discouraged in ministry.
We serve out of a deep sense of calling. We answer God’s call to serve others. Our expectation is to make a difference in the kingdom and in the lives of those we are serving. Search committees and church leaders will paint a picture of great potential of what could happen when we begin our ministry.
We start off with a clear picture of where we are and we need to go. We are eager and optimistic as we begin our ministry. Unfortunately, it does not take long before reality sets in. The way the church is reflects the way the church was despite our gallant attempts to bring about needed change. It’s not uncommon to feel like the writer of Ecclesiastes:
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1:2
We feel like nothing will change despite our desire and pursuit to turn the ship around to a better direction. The other common reality is that when the ship begins to turn, not everyone in the congregation embraces the change. In fact, many do not want change though they initially communicate their willingness. “How can you change the music we love?” “Why did you leave me off that committee?” “We don’t like what we are seeing.”
We can easily conclude that things will never really change despite our efforts. We get discouraged. We question ourselves and our calling. We want quicker results, but things are not moving at the pace we would like to see.
Let’s be encouraged by God’s word. We see all of these struggles among God’s people throughout the Scriptures. The times we go through discouragement call upon our need for God’s hope. Our desire at Still Waters Renewal is to be a place where God’s hope can come alive in our hearts. We want to see beyond the present to what God has for us as we look ahead.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13