Friday, February 25, 2011

Death in Ministry

Eugene Cho in an article in asked the question, "Is pastoral ministry a dangerous profession"? Based on interviews and feedback, Peter Drucker compiled a list of the four hardest jobs in America, in no certain order.

1. President of the United States
2. CEO of a Hospital
3. A University President
4. A Pastor

Forty-eight percent of them think their work is hazardous to their family well-being. Another 45.5 percent will experience a burnout or a depression that will make them leave their jobs. And 70 percent say their self-esteem is lower now than when they started their position. They have the second-highest divorce rate among professions.
The profession that reported these stats is the office of Pastor. The data collected was overwhelming.

•80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with spouse and that ministry has a negative effect on their family.
•40% report a serious conflict with a parishioner once a month.
•33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
•75% report they’ve had a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
•58% of pastors indicate that their spouse needs to work either part time or full time to supplement the family income.
•56% of pastors’ wives say they have no close friends.
•Pastors who work fewer than 50 hrs per week are 35% more likely to be terminated.
•40% of pastors considered leaving the pastorate in the past three months.

•Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
•Fifty percent of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
•Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
•Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
•Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
•Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
•Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
•Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.

As I read this I realized Pastors need encouragement And if no one in the church is assigned to nurture, affirm and prevent burnout for the pastor, then no one will. When they get in trouble, who can they turn to?

Most churches do not give sabbaticals to their pastors even though, unlike college professors and high school teachers, they cannot use the same talk twice.

Most pastors are underpaid. They did not take a vow of poverty. Few have personnel committees who are geared to being their advocate in terms of salary, study leave, bonuses, vacations and remembering their anniversary work date, birthdays or special celebrations, or finding ways to affirm the spouses of whom 25 percent claim the pastorate is a major source of family conflict.

Congregations expect pastors to wear too many hats: CEO, therapist, scholar, teacher, administrator, accountant, fund-raiser, friend of children, preacher, spiritual leader, wedding/funeral presider and house blesser.

Church members expect their pastor to be on call seven days a week; few churches give their pastor two full days off, thereby losing 52 days of rest that most people relish. They work on holidays, Christmas Eve, Easter and Thanksgiving and never have a three-day weekend.

Let me be clear. I am fine and this is not about me. Macedonia is a great church, not a perfect one but practicing and striving to be. They deal with my imperfections so I would be a hypocrite not to deal with theirs, so this article is not about me but it is designed to prayerfully identify with my fellow pastors in the struggle and hopefully, a parishioner might stumble upon this blog and develop a better respect and love for their Pastor.

So give your pastors a hug, a big salary increase, more time off, a pat on the back, and help them. They need it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

How Full is Your backpack?

Up In The Air: Trailer Backpack @ Yahoo! Video

How much does your life weigh? Imagine for a second that you're carrying a backpack. I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life... you start with the little things. The shelves, the drawers, the knickknacks, then you start adding larger stuff. Clothes, tabletop appliances, lamps, your TV... the backpack should be getting pretty heavy now. You go bigger. Your couch, your car, your home... I want you to stuff it all into that backpack. Now I want you to fill it with people.

Start with casual acquaintances, friends of friends, folks around the office... and then you move into the people you trust with your most intimate secrets. Your brothers, your sisters, your children, your parents and finally your husband, your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend. You get them into that backpack, feel the weight of that bag. Make no mistake your relationships are the heaviest components in your life. All those negotiations and arguments and secrets, the compromises. The slower we move the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living. Some animals were meant to carry each other to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We are sharks.

Great speech, even better movie. George Clooney is an amazing actor but this is still the human response to carrying weight. We try and carry everything, we try and balance what is and what is not important. We try and do all the work ourselves only to discover we are not strong enough, we are not tough enough, WE JUST CAN'T DO IT.

Instead of turning it over to Jesus, we first try and shed weight, Remove friends, end relationships, distance ourselves, lessen our workloads and for a minute, for a moment, even for a month, IT WORKS. It seems to get better and lighter but this is still not the way God intended it. This proves itself by the weight coming back, getting heavier again and that feeling of this is too much to bear returns. SO WHAT DO WE DO?

GIVE YOUR BACKPACK TO GOD! Quit trying to find the right weight ratio of friends, relationships, burdens, bills, the formula never works out. Quit living life as a hermit, scared to let people in because they weigh too much or it costs too much. Give your backpack to Jesus.

Matthew 11:28-30 (Common English Bible)

28 “Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. 30 My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Let Love Continue

I pray that everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day. I hope you had quality time with the one you love; took time to share with mothers and fathers, children and family because charity begins at home. I even pray some of you shared loved with your Pastor or fellow church members as we should demonstrate all types of loves.

However, I have always wondered. WHAT HAPPENS THE DAY AFTER VALENTINE'S DAY? When the candy is gone and the flowers start to fade, when the card collects dust and the bear accidentally hits the floor, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. When the Hallmark store starts removing the Valentine displays and begins putting up the Easter and Mother's Day Displays, Where does the Love Go.? WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

The spirit of February 14th is good but if it isn't lived the other 364 days of the year, it makes the acts of this day cheap and void. It is wonderful you called her sweetheart yesterday but what are you calling her today? He was your wonderfully sweet man given to you by God yesterday but what do you call him when he gets on your last and tiring nerve?

It is nice to remembered, appreciated and celebrated for a day, event or occasion but if it doesn't remain or continue, we can undo what we have just done. Is there a remedy? Is there an answer? Yes there is, the Bible says LET LOVE CONTINUE! Hebrew 13:1

Let love of the brethren continue. NAS

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. NIV

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. NLT

Keep being concerned about each other as the Lord's followers should CEV

LET LOVE for your fellow believers continue and be a fixed practice with you [never let it fail]. Amplified

“Let love continue” does not really do this sentence justice. It is more blunt than that. The English seems a more courteous way of telling someone what they must do. If I am climbing a ladder to the second story window of a house and I say to you, “stay here and don’t let this ladder slip,” that is not an optional request in my mind. Most of our English translations say it pretty much the same way; however, The Greek says, ”You must continue to love the brothers!” It is not God’s hope or wish. It is His most often repeated command to you.
So I urge you, Don't let your love expression be a one-time act. A birthday, holiday, anniversary occasion but rather let it be a lifestyle. Let love be the garment of expression that you wear everyday. How better would our marriages, relationships, families, churches and even our world be if we would let love continue.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Please Pray for the Manns Family

The Macedonia Church Family is asking for your prayers for our chairman of the Deacon board, Deacon Calvin Manns. Deacon Manns has been a faithful deacon and chairman for over 40 years.
He has always been there for the church in rough and trying times. Now, it is our chance to return that same blessing to him.
In one week, Deacon Manns was forced to rush his wife, Pastor Verlie Manns to the hospital to have emergency surgery. For those of us that know Pastor Manns, she is a strong Christian woman. With that said, the average person would have admitted pain much sooner, However Pastor Verlie Manns is no where close to being an average person. She is a powerful preaching woman.
On the same day that Pastor Manns was scheduled to have surgery, word came down from Detroit that Deacon Manns brother, Elder Julius Manns had died of a heart attack at the age of 72. As the oldest sibling this hit Deacon Manns hard. Our continued prayers go out to Elder Julius Manns' four daughters, one son and his wife of 19 years Mrs. Marjorie.
No Man is an Island and No Man stands alone! We are all better together! Today we stand and pray for Deacons Manns. My prayer is today as you read this blog you will stop for a minute and whisper a prayer to God on behalf of the Manns Family. The way this life is, what happens at one house today will be at your house tomorrow, so we should pray one for another.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Power of Collective Prayer

Sunday, the Macedonia Church had it's Prayer and Installation Service. I have been preaching through the Armour of God and it has been a blessing to me personally but I think, also to the people of Macedonia. I say this only based on each Sunday I am noticing it is not as hard to preach because the series has taken a life of its own, To God be the Glory.

I was scheduled by preaching calendar to be in Vs 17 Sunday and do the Helmet of Salvation, but God redirected us and we skipped down to vs. 18.. I explained the purpose of this verse and then our church discovered the power in this verse. Sunday, the people of Macedonia preached and they did a wonderful job.

Most people don't realize there are different kinds of prayer. But according to this verse, God has actually made many forms of prayer available to us to use as needed, such as the prayer of faith, the prayer of intercession, the prayer of consecration, and the prayer of agreement.

Sometimes life can be difficult and challenging. For one thing, the devil doesn't want you to be blessed or successful in your endeavors. So in order to face the inevitable attacks that arise against your marriage, finances, body, job, and career, you must come to realize that prayer is indispensable. You cannot succeed as a Christian without an active and effective prayer life.

No matter how anointed, skilled, or gifted you may be or how bold and courageous you think you are, you simply cannot maintain a victorious position in life apart from prayer. Without prayer, you can be sure of absolute and total defeat. But as you develop a lifestyle of prayer, taking advantage of every form of prayer available to you, you will find that victory is yours in the midst of every challenge!

Thank God for the Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Shield of Faith and our Feet Shod with the Preparation of Peace, Sword of the Spirit and the Helmet of Salvation, BUT TO GO OUT TO BATTLE WITHOUT PRAYING IS A RECIPE FOR DEFEAT EVERY TIME.

If you want to grow in your spiritual walk, you need to make prayer a central part of your life. But in order for prayer to be the great adventure God wants it to be in your life, you must understand that there are all kinds of ways to pray. Don't get stuck with just one form of prayer! The Bible tells us that there are several kinds of prayer, and you need to learn to use every kind of prayer that's available to you.

Other translations of Ephesians 6:18 include:
"Use every kind of prayer..." (Goodspeed)
"Pray... with all manner of prayer..." (amp)
"Pray... with all kinds of prayers...." (niv)
"Pray... with all kinds of prayers that are available for you to use...." (rev)

Sunday we prayed. The first prayer was from the pulpit and every prayer following was from the pews, covering Area Churches, Pastors, prayer for the Macedonia Pastor, Deacons, Trustees, Finances, Women's and Men's Ministries, Youth and Children, Choral and Fine Arts, Ushers and Nurses, Praise Dancers. From the young to the old we tried to put into practice vs. 18.

It is amazing to watch God move, Last year this prayer service had an excitement to it, People were shouting and running and we had to pull people from under the pews. This year was a somber experience, crying, emotional; the burden of ministry was felt, the realization that we must pray like this everyday not just during an installation service was evident.

So I am writing this to let you know, we prayed for you, we prayed for your family, your church, your pastor, your ministry, We want you to succeed and God's best enacted in your life and on your behalf. As we pray for you, please pray for us as well.