If you’re anything like me, you are committed to being in ministry for the long haul. You want to be serving God and people through your ministry for the rest of  your life.

Sadly, this is not always the case, as people are dropping out of ministry in record numbers, these days. The reasons why can certainly be discussed and debated (and have been), but I believe that at least one of those reasons has to do with a lack of joy in the journey.

Everyone in ministry, at every level, has times of discouragement, disillusionment, disappointment and …other “disses.”  Ministry can often be tough and unrewarding. It requires our best efforts, our best energy and a constant reliance on God’s power to sustain us as we go.

And although it can also be the most rewarding, exhilarating and fulfilling experience of our lives, sometimes we can lose our joy along the way.

Have you lost your joy in ministry? Here are a few suggestions for sparking the embers of joy back into a warm, glowing and attractive flame in your life:

1. Remember your calling.

Go back to the beginning.  Reflect on when you said, “Yes” to God and went into ministry. Remember the way you felt, the setting, the people who were around you and the joy and honor of being called into ministry. “Raise your Ebenezer” with some kind of “touch stone” to remind you of those moments, and consider how “hither by His help you’ve come.” (1 Samuel 7:12)

2. Spend some time “officing” in your community.

There’s something about changing your setting, getting out of your office and getting into your community that helps rekindle your vision and remind you of why you’re in ministry.

Every time I “office” out of a coffee shop or a park, I see people wandering around, like “sheep without a shepherd,” and I begin to get refocused.  Just being in these kinds of places opens up opportunities for connecting with people who need Jesus, keeps my priorities in order and lessens the weight of the stresses of ministry.

Compassion for others can stir up joy and get our minds off of our ministry “pains” and back onto our purpose and mission. (Matthew 9:36-38)

3. Share Jesus with someone.

Very few things can bring back the joy in ministry like leading someone to place their faith in Jesus and seeing them become a Christ Follower.  Pray for the opportunity, and share the Gospel with someone.  You may go out with weeping, but you’ll return with shouts of joy. Oh, and there’ll be some joy in heaven, also… (Psalm 126:6,  Luke 15:7)

4. Connect with other ministers.

Find other ministers in your area who have the same ministry focus as you do and meet regularly for coffee or breakfast.  Share stories and struggles and encourage each other.  Sometimes in ministry, only other ministers can really understand what you’re experiencing and can encourage you properly.

It’s also great to know that you’re not the only one who faces these challenges.  Let “iron sharpen iron.”  Laugh with, pray for, and encourage each other. (Proverbs 27:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:11  and Hebrews 3:13)

5. Find somewhere you can pray/shout/talk out loud with God.

When you’re frustrated, it’s always a good idea to “ventilate vertically,” (to God) rather than “horizontally” (at others). Find a place where no one else can hear you and audibly voice your frustrations to God.

I remember doing this in a big, open field once, during a difficult time when I was planting a church in Texas. I prayed, shouted and talked with God until I was completely spent. I left no frustration in my ministry “un-dealt-with.”  I then walked home from that experience with a renewed faith, a sense of peace, and the emotional release that I hadn’t even realized that I had needed.

God is a big God.  Purge your anxieties by tossing them up to Him, ….and do so loudly if necessary. He can handle it.  (Psalm 13, 1 Peter 5:7)

6. Fill a page with things you are thankful for.

Take a few minutes and write down or type up everything that you have to be thankful for. Give thanks for answered prayer, blessings you have, your family, and for the privilege of serving in your ministry.

Ask yourself, “What do I even have to be thankful for?” then list every possible thing that comes to your mind. Gratitude plants seeds of joy as we reflect on our blessings.  (Here’s a list of verses of Scripture to chew on as you go.)

7. Tell someone your testimony.

Tell someone how you became a Christ Follower, how you were called into ministry or even something that God has done in your life or ministry, lately.  Sometimes just sharing these kinds of stories out loud with someone else can reignite a flame inside us that has begun to flicker out. Focus more on what God has done than the personal details of your story.

And of course, always explain the hope that you have to someone who asks, but don’t hesitate to share it even if they haven’t asked… (1 Peter 3:15)

8. Eat well, exercise and get some rest.

This isn’t very spiritual sounding, but it is often one of the best things you can do if you’ve begun to lose your joy in ministry. It’s amazing what eating right, adding some exercise and getting a good night’s rest can do to renew your spirit.

Doing these three things has not only renewed my coping abilities, perspective and energy, they have also restored my joy in ministry many times along the way. (1 Kings 19:4-7,  Daniel 1:12-16, Psalm 30:5, Lamentations 3:22-23,  Mark 2:27)

9. Laugh at the funny things that happen in ministry.

Seriously, some funny things happen in ministry. Stop and remember a few of them that have happened to you along the way. That baptism when the kid jumped in? That time somebody fell asleep and started snoring in the service?  That time you read 1 Samuel 25:22 in the King James Version out loud in your service because it was a cross referenced verse, but you hadn’t looked at it beforehand?

Yeah, laugh about those and many others that have happened and that will happen in your ministry.

Find and talk to someone who has been in ministry for over 40 years and ask them the same question that I ask ministers on The Ministry Backpack Podcast – “What’s one of the funniest things that’s happened to you in ministry?”  You won’t be disappointed. And a good laugh is a good doorway back to joy. (Psalm 118:24)

10. Spend some time with children.

Don’t be creepy, but find a safe place to watch and/or interact with small children. Notice how they play and are filled with wonder at the smallest of things.  Observe the simple and pure, unfiltered joy that kids display so much better than grownups do.

Remember a joyful moment at Christmas or some other time when you were a kid. Drop your guard and set aside the stresses of ministry while getting a lesson on joy from these little ones.  The kingdom of God belongs to such as these, after all. (Luke 18:16)

11. Ask God to fill you with His joy.

Could it really be this simple?  Maybe it’s not an immediate solution in every situation, but it’s certainly the best step in the right direction. And it could also be that, in relation to joy, we “have not because we ask not.”

If the joy in your ministry has started to melt away, maybe it’s time to simply, directly and clearly ask the Lord to first “restore unto you the joy of your salvation,” and then let your ministry flow out of that.

“…Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. ” (John 16:24; Psalm 51:12)

Image Credit: Ben White Photography

Show Notes: Seven Questions With Tyler Hettich (Part 2)

In this episode, I continue my interview Pastor Tyler Hettich with “Seven Questions.” Tyler is the founding pastor of Church at the Creek in Aurora, Colorado.

Church at the Creek
http://churchatthecreek.org/

Some Highlights and Links From Today’s Show:

On Keeping His Family Relationships Strong:

No Tech Tuesday” – No electronic devices, no TV, no internet, one day a week. Conversations, board games, going to the park, etc.

“We decided that as a family, we need a discipline in our life where there’s a day a week where we are not distracted by other things, and we’re engaging one another in conversations beyond the normal things. And so that’s kind of a discipline that we have in our home.”

“No Tech Tuesday” has become one of his family’s favorite days of the week.

“I was using all of my creative energy for sermons, people I work with, etc. to connect and communicate, and I would come home and be boring.”

“I need to save some of my best jokes and best stories for the dinner table, and not just for my sermons. I need to think of ways that I’m bringing energy to my conversations with my wife and my kids, and laughing, and bringing an environment where we’re enjoying one another’s company, instead of just for Sunday mornings… I need to give as much energy to that relationship as any other.”

“I’ve tried to take ownership over my attitude, my energy, and my engagement with my family.”

Tyler learned from the example of his father, who also was a Church Planter. His dad was them same person in the pulpit as he was at home. He also didn’t ‘sulk around’ when ministry was tough. For him, it was a joy to serve in ministry. They all served together as a family unit, all working to see it succeed. Growing up in a “Church Planting Family” was a positive experience for Tyler in all areas of his life, and he wants to transfer that experience to his kids.

“Keep it simple. Do my kids’ love Jesus? Are their relationships good? – If we have a low Sunday (By comparison) Who cares?”

Tyler’s Basic Weekly Schedule:

(20 Hours a week in another job – 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., M-F)

Mondays – Early morning Prayer and Sermon Prep/ Guest Follow-up
Tuesdays – Studying for upcoming Sermons
Wednesdays – Writes Kids’ Curriculum
Thursdays – Finish up Sermon Prep for Sunday
Fridays – Morning – Printing and Video/Pro Presenter set up for

2 or 3 nights a week – Relationship building/connecting with people – small groups and having people over to their house.

To Bi-Vocational Ministers:

“You guys are heroes of the faith. Your salary does not define you. What you are doing is super important and on the front lines of ministry where nobody else is going…Keep after it, because we need people starting ministries where there are no other ministries. I want to encourage those out there who are struggling and saying, ‘This is hard.’ – Just keep going.”

On Writing His Church’s Weekly Kid’s Curriculum:

“The kids go one direction, the adults go another direction – we’re putting all of this content out, and they’re never connecting the dots. I spend a lot of time trying to get families talking about what we’re talking about in the service.”

“(By writing our Kid’s Curriculum) I can tell people regularly, ‘Hey, you’re learning the same content as the kids are at this point in time. You know what to talk about.'”

“If I can get people talking about it at home, I think that’s a huge win.”

Writing it takes him about an hour and half a week, using a basic template where he plugs in different games or activities.

He writes his sermon first, then thinks, “How would I teach this to my kids?

Join the conversation on this topic by commenting or leaving questions below. If you have a question that you’d like to have heard on the podcast, record your question, and upload it to Google Drive, Dropbox, Box or some other cloud based site and send the link to Hello@MinistryBackpack.com

Music Provided by Michael Leckiehttp://MichaelLeckie.Bandcamp.com

Show Notes: Seven Questions With Tyler Hettich

Summary: In this episode, I interview Pastor Tyler Hettich with “Seven Questions.” Tyler is the founding pastor of Church at the Creek in Aurora, Colorado. He has married to his wife, Alisa for 16 years and together they have two great kids, Titus and Riley. Before planting Church at the Creek, he has served in various ministry roles in churches large and small.

Church at the Creek
http://churchatthecreek.org/

Some Highlights and Links From Today’s Show:

“I’ve heard it said from a couple of different sources (I don’t even remember particularly where I heard it) that ‘the most difficult person to lead is yourself.’ …And I found that to be true.”

“It’s so important to not be discouraged by comparing yourself to other ministries.”

To Church Planters:

“Get ready for it to be the most challenging, sanctifying experience of your life.”

“Church Planting calls you to a higher level in your personal walk with God in order to persevere through the difficult times.”

“Learn to embrace the struggle of it.”

“Embrace the seasons and stages in your church.”

On Being A “Neighborhood Church Plant:”

“A non-negotiable for us was that we were going to live in the neighborhood that we’re trying to reach.”

“We’re going to be for the community, not against the community – Showing up, promoting and helping at events that are happening in the community, not just promoting our own events.”

“It is a joy to say that we minister to the kids that go to the local school; we minister to the neighbors who live next door; we’re committed to making a tangible improvement in this particular neighborhood … It’s pretty simple stuff: Love God, Love your neighbor – and we took it very literally and just said, “We’re going to literally love our neighbor, not just figuratively – our next door neighbor. And that’s kind of been the philosophy of our church from the beginning.”

“Think in terms of long range vision rather than short term results.”

“If I were starting over, I would definitely worry less and pray more.”

Resources He Is Currently Using:

Podcasts:
12Stone Church
https://twelvestone.podbean.com/

Northpoint/Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast
https://andystanley.com/podcasts/

LifeChurch/Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast
https://www.life.church/leadershippodcast/

Mosaic/Erwin McManus
http://erwinmcmanus.com/

Books:
Ignite: How To Spark Immediate Growth In Your Church

and

Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church

Both by Nelson Searcy

Connecting with local Pastors
Example Idea from a local pastor – Moving from a “to do” list to scheduling “to do list” items on his calendar as appointments.

Free Resources:
12 Stonehttps://resources.12stone.com/

Life Church – https://open.life.church/

Join the conversation on this topic by commenting or leaving questions below. If you have a question that you’d like to have heard on the podcast, record your question, and upload it to Google Drive, Dropbox, Box or some other cloud based site and send the link to Hello@MinistryBackpack.com

Music Provided by Michael Leckiehttp://MichaelLeckie.Bandcamp.com

Pack This:

Ministry Quote –

“Those who view the Holy Spirit as an impersonal power are concerned about how to control or use Him. By viewing the Spirit personally, as the Spirit of God we know in Christ, our concern should be to let the Spirit control our lives.” – Boyd Hunt in “Redeemed! Eschatological Redemption & The Kingdom of God” (© 1993 Broadman & Holman Publishers, p.27)

 

Ministry Backpack Podcast Episode 11 Show Notes:

Summary: In today’s podcast I talk about an essential quality for Christian Leaders – Purity

Resources and Links mentioned in this episode:

2 Corinthians 6:6a  
(But in everthing, as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves) “By purity…”

Purity  – Chaste, pure, clean, uncontaminated from the inside-out.

“The battle that we face to maintain purity needs to be fought from within and without.”

“Purity should be viewed as a quality that we value, pursue, and fight for. You have to be ‘crazy intentional’ about purity.”

“You should never find your identity in, or define yourself by, your desires, attractions, appetites or failures. We should find our identity in Jesus.”

Psalm 86:11 – “Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.” – NLT

Psalm 19:14  – “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” – NLT

1 Samuel 15:22 – “But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD : your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” – NLT

Psalm 101:3-4 – “3 I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. 4 I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil.” – NLT

Some Quick Tips For Maintaining Purity:

1. Have a big, life consuming vision and mission for your life. Fill your life and time so that you don’t give yourself time to fail morally, and that the short term pleasure of the temptation seems small by comparison.

Nehemiah 6:3 – “So I sent messengers to them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?'” – CSB

2. If you are married, invest in your marriage. It involves attention and intention on your part.

“7 Questions” Episodes – (Question Number 5) “What One or Two Things Do You Do to Keep Your Family Relationships Strong?”

3. Saturate your mind with Scripture. Read it, Memorize it, and Meditate on it.

Romans 12:2 – “2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” – CSB

Psalm 119:11 – “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” – KJV

4. Confess where you’ve failed. Don’t justify it – draw a line in the sand – confess it to the Lord and move forward.

1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – CSB

5. Remove all “fuel for failure” in relationship to purity. Git rid of everything that causes you to stumble.

Romans 13:14 – “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” – ESV

A Recommended Service For Accountability:

Accountable2You – Accountability Software For All Of Your Devices

(This is an affiliate link, but I use and greatly recommend this service.)

Proverbs 10:9 – “The one who lives with integrity lives securely, but whoever perverts his ways will be found out.” – CSB

6. Daily be filled with and have access to the power of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:16 – “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” – NLT

Join the conversation on this topic by commenting or leaving questions below. If you have a question that you’d like to have heard on the podcast, record your question, and upload it to Google Drive, Dropbox, Box or some other cloud based site and send the link to Hello@MinistryBackpack.com

Music Provided by Michael Leckie – http://MichaelLeckie.Bandcamp.com

Pack This:

Ministry Quote:

“Maybe today is the day that you will be telling stories about years from now – That day that you fought through the pain and the roadblocks, owned up to your mistakes, put your hope and destiny in God’s hands, and everything began to change.” – Johnny Leckie

“This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24 NKJV

:

Show Notes: Seven Questions With Adam Young

In this episode, I continue my “7 Questions” interview with Pastor Adam Young. Adam is the founding and lead pastor of Element Church in Aurora, Colorado. Adam is married to Alaina, and they have three amazing kids. He has preached from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States, a number of countries, and on three different continents. Adam has served in churches as the Youth Pastor, College Pastor, Children’s Pastor, and Associate Pastor in Oklahoma and Colorado. Adam is also an adjunct professor at Colorado Christian University. (http://www.ccu.edu/) In his free time, Adam enjoys fishing, hunting, reading, and drinking coffee…

Element Church
http://www.yourelement.org/

Some Highlights and Links From Today’s Show:

On Keeping Family Relationships Strong:

  • Following the example of his father, he is really involved with his kids’ and their sports, by coaching. He does this even though he doesn’t know a lot about all of the sports.
  • He and his wife are intentional about fully involving his children in their church planting experience. They help with setup and other things on Sunday mornings.
  • He takes his kids with him on hospital visits and some other ministry meetings, then takes them out for ice-cream afterward.

Adam’s Basic Schedule:

As a “bi-vocational” church planter, Adam “offices” out of his home and his schedule is constantly changing. He teaches at Colorado Christian University, works and coaches in the local school system and is currently working on an additional degree.

Screenshot of Adam’s Weekly “Color Coded” Schedule as promised:

Family time is blocked out and Adam keeps his scheduled color coded.

Here’s a “rough cut” look:
Mondays – Nothing relational, if possible. Emails, reponse to visitors, etc. and Sermon prep begins.
Wednesday Mornings – Sermon preparation.
Thursday Afternoons – Long-range planning.
Friday Mornings – Often spent grading papers during a season of teaching at CCU.
Friday Afternoons – Personal growth.

Join the conversation on this topic by commenting or leaving questions below. If you have a question that you’d like to have heard on the podcast, record your question, and upload it to Google Drive, Dropbox, Box or some other cloud based site and send the link to Hello@MinistryBackpack.com

Music Provided by Michael Leckiehttp://MichaelLeckie.Bandcamp.com

Pack This:

Ministry Quote –

“It would not be amiss on occasion to read the Gospels backwards. For through the RESURRECTION, we begin to understand all that preceeded it.” – Bert Dominy in “God’s Work of Salvation.” (© 1986 Broadman Press, p.96)

Show Notes: Seven Questions With Adam Young

Summary: In this episode, I interview Pastor Adam Young with Part One of “Seven Questions.” Adam is the founding and lead pastor of Element Church in Aurora, Colorado. Adam is married to Alaina, and they have three amazing kids. He has preached from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States, a number of countries, and on three different continents. Adam has served in churches as the Youth Pastor, College Pastor, Children’s Pastor, and Associate Pastor in Oklahoma and Colorado. Adam is also an adjunct professor at Colorado Christian University. (http://www.ccu.edu/) In his free time, Adam enjoys fishing, hunting, reading, and drinking coffee…

Element Church
http://www.yourelement.org/

Some Highlights and Links From Today’s Show:

Thoughts about church planting if he was starting today:

  • He would not do it without a “core team” of 10 to 20 people who are fully on board from the start.
  • He would ask local church pastors to suggest people in their church who could be a part of a “short term” mission team to serve for 6 months or so.
  • If you are church planting and your only skill set is preaching, you will be in trouble.
  • Get a degree in something outside of ministry to support your family – a business degree or teaching degree to prepare for Church Planting.
  • He would start as a “Bi-vocational” Church Planter.

Resources He Is Currently Using In His Church:

Facebook for Church – Streams some services (the message) via “Facebook Live”
http://www.Facebook.com

Live Q&A texting in the worship service using “PollEverywhere”
https://www.polleverywhere.com/

Join the conversation on this topic by commenting or leaving questions below. If you have a question that you’d like to have heard on the podcast, record your question, and upload it to Google Drive, Dropbox, Box or some other cloud based site and send the link to Hello@MinistryBackpack.com

Music Provided by Michael Leckiehttp://MichaelLeckie.Bandcamp.com

Strong Joy

Posted by Johnny Leckie | 15 Backpack Essentials

“A minister and/or their spouse is no longer spiritually healthy when the joy is gone and it is replaced with the steely resolve of duty.

You can be healthy if you have a strong joy that includes a sense of duty, but not with a strong sense of duty that doesn’t include joy.”

– From “15 Backpack Essentials For Christian Leaders” by Johnny Leckie