I recently bought the book “On the Brink: Grace for Burned-Out Pastors” by Clay Werner. I probably came acrossed the title on a blog and it intrigued me so I placed the order. And it’s been a wonderfully encouraging read not only from the stand point of a local church pastor but, I think, for any local church member. I’d commend it to any believer, especially to my colleagues. Byron Borger at Hearts and Minds Bookstore has graciously offered a discount to anyone who wants to order books that I review on this site, so let me encourage you to click here and ask about ordering this book from them!
Having recently returned from Mexico where I met with some pastor friends who have been so discouraged lately in the ministry, and realizing that discouragement within the local church is a constant reality, I thought I’d record some of the most poignant lessons that I’ve been learning as I’ve been reading. It’s my hope that you will be encouraged to keep on keeping on in faithfulness to the call of God within your local church:
- Ministry is a place for nourishing, caring for, and equipping God’s people, not pursuing the establishment and extenion of my kingdom.
- Beware that the church that you want doesn’t become the enemy of the church you have (inspired by a quote from Eugene Peterson).
- Demanding perfection or nothing in our relationships will always result in nothing (again inspired by a quote from Petereson).
- Seeing deficiency in people instead of evidences of grace will leave you bitter and joyless.
- “The community you are in is broken far worse than you could ever imagine, but God is in the process, even though it is slow, of making all things new” (direct quote from Werner, p. 61).
- Don’t hope for promises that God never made.
- We are called to “keep the eyes of [our] heart firmly placed on the author and perfecter of [our] faith–the always perfect, never grumbling always interceding , forgiving patient, compassionate leader…Jesus Christ” (Werner, p. 20).
- “At the root of all church conflict is either a dilution of the gospel or a subtle drifitng away from understanding it and living of its implications” (Werner, p. 32).
- “Patience is not about waiting for the doctor or for the cars to move in the drive-through…Patience is perseverance under provocation” (Werner, p. 58)
- “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).
Maybe you’re on the cusp of abandoning the ship of the local church. Perhaps you’re a pastor or local church leader, maybe you’re a local church member and you’ve been “stepped on” enough that you’re ready to call it quits. Before you do, consider these lessons and make sure that you’re not jumping off alone into a cold and stormy sea.