Show Notes: Seven Questions With Robert Pooley

Summary: In this episode, I interview Pastor Robert Pooley in part one of “Seven Questions.” Robert is the Founding and current Pastor of Coast Community Church in Gulf Breeze, Florida, which he planted over 19 years ago. Robert has served as a youth pastor, was a member of the “Keith Shealy Band” back in the day, and has lived and served in California, Washington, D.C., and North Carolina. He is married to Vicki, and their daughter is Leanna. He’s also pretty handy with a guitar.

Coast Community Church
http://www.coastcommunity.org

Some Highlights and Links From Today’s Show:

“(Hard times and difficulties) are kind of like a storm. Sometimes they just hit you and you don’t see them coming.”

“Every pastor needs a pastor.”

 

Book:
Leading On Empty by Wayne Cordeiro

Center for Clergy Care
http://centerforclergycare.com/

A Few Things That Robert  would do differently:

  • He would find some mentors early on in his ministry.
    Coast Community is now an ARC (Association of Related Churches) Supporting Church.
  • Because you will need more money than you think you will, he would raise more money before planting a church.
  • He would work more on developing leaders and teams early on.
  • “You can be a great speaker, but if you’re not a gatherer, if you’re not a team builder – those are skills that you really need.”

Other Resources Robert Is Currently Using:

The Kindle App for constantly reading and building his library

Book:
Secrets of a Secret Shopper: Reaching and Keeping Church Guests” by Greg Atkinson

Book:
God Dreams: 12 Vision Templates For Find and Focusing Your Church’s Future” by Will Mancini and Warren Bird

Book:
Live Love Lead: Your Best Is Yet To Come” by Brian Houston

Small Group of Pastors – Robert has a “small group” of Pastors (outside of church) that he meets with once a month for encouragement, support and laughter.

“I encourage every Pastor to have a group like that, because it will save your ministry.”

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 “Artist Unknown” – https://artistunknown.bandcamp.com/

Ministry Backpack Podcast Episode 18 Show Notes:

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

Resources and Links mentioned in this episode:

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

Patience –  Enduring Patience, Forbearance, Longsuffering.

It’s about being “long-tempered.”

“Patience is not a personality trait. It’s not an optional thing for Christian Leaders. In fact, a lack of patience is actually a “leadership weakness.”

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, and it reflects the nature of God.

Some areas in which patience can make a big difference in our leadership:

1 – People.

“We need to give people time to grow. We need to allow God to work on them.”

“When we are short-tempered with people, we almost immediately lose credibility with them.”

2 – Plans.

“Sometimes we need to make decisions quickly, but patience in our leadership means that we have taken time, ahead of time to think through, to pray through potential opportunities and scenarios ahead of time. You do this so that you can decide. ahead of time, the kind of decision that you would make.”

From “31 Refutably Irrefutable Laws of Lame Leadership” –
(This is no longer available on Scribd, so here is a direct download link to the original version.)

31 Refutably Irrefutable Laws of Lame Leadership

Law 14:  The Law of the “Fire, Ready, Aim Rabbit” – Always make decisions quickly. Do not analyze anything; just go with your gut. Do not fear making a series of bad decisions. Instead, feel confident in your leadership abilities because no one can accuse you of being indecisive. Keep your finger on the trigger, and look for opportunities to shoot.

Law 15: The Law of the “Studious Turtle” – Always make decisions slowly. Analyze and analyze. Get everyone’s opinion and input. Consider all factors and every possible scenario before making a decision. Form a committee to study it.

Law 16: The Law of the Blank Stare – Never make decisions. Do not be proactive. Wait for things to work themselves out on their own. Eventually react to whatever happens.

“In relationship to patience in our plans as leaders, we’ve got to find the balance between these three laws.”

3 – “Postings.”

James 1:19 – “My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger,” – HCSB

“It’s about pausing before we speak; it’s thinking before you make some brash statement; it’s praying and getting God’s insight before opening our mouths to say something.  This principle applies to words we say and to things we post on social media.”

Always pause before you post. Think about how it will be perceived by those who know you as a Christian leader.”

This essential bleeds into the essential of “A Higher Standard.”

“Use the quality of patience in your leadership to do the right things, at the right time, with the right attitude.”

 

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 “Artist Unknown” – https://artistunknown.bandcamp.com/

Previous episodes in this series:

#004 – A Backpack Essential For Christian Leaders: A Higher Standard

#008 – A Backpack Essential For Christian Leaders: Resilience

#011 – A Backpack Essential For Christian Leaders: Purity

#014 – A Backpack Essential For Christian Leaders: Understanding

If you are a Christian leader,  you serve at the pleasure of the King.  Not to get ahead, not to be honored, not to be famous, not to have power, not to plaster your face and name on everything you do.*  You are under the authority of the King, and you serve at His pleasure.

This is the essence of Jesus’ prayer, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  (Matthew 6:10)

It’s also the understanding of  the Roman officer who came to Jesus requesting healing for his servant in Matthew 8:8-9:

8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me.  And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” – ESV

Humility in leadership helps us to avoid the foolish mistakes that arise from arrogance.  It’s the attitude behind James 4:6 and many other verses of Scripture: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  If you are leading on behalf of Christ, you definitely don’t want Him to be against you as you go.

Christian Leaders must have humility if they are to truly be effective.  They must understand that they are under authority and represent the King.  Sometimes that means serving in a place of honor, as a paid, full time Pastor or Staff Member.  Sometimes that means serving in a place that does not have the same visibility or recognition.  Sometimes it means picking up and moving across the country.

Humility is not a word that means “weakness” or “lack of confidence” or “low self-esteem.” It is a word that conveys the idea that we understand that we are under the authority of One who is greater than us.  We go at His pleasure; we serve at His pleasure; we do whatever He calls us to do.  Our responsibility is to see His will done rather than our will done on earth as it is in heaven.

I had a Professor in Seminary who told us about his first, official, paid position in ministry.  He had just graduated with a Master’s degree, and was excited to start serving on a Church staff.  The Monday of his first week at the Church, he was given his first assignment:  Clean up the vomit of a kid who had thrown up in the Church van the night before.

Welcome to ministry.  If our King grabs a towel and tells us, “This is how to lead,” then we join Him and start washing feet.  If a task is given to us by the King, no matter how menial or grandiose, it is an honorable thing for us to be doing. The honor is in the fact that we are doing something on behalf of and in the name of the One who is worthy of all honor.

Humility is a “Backpack Essential” for Christian Leaders.  We are not the King. We serve at the pleasure of the King.

* (I’m not talking about your name and face on promotional materials or websites.  I’m talking about an ongoing need for recognition.)

————

 Johnny Leckie is a Christ Follower, Husband to Leona, and Father to MatthewMelissa & Michael. He is also a Church Planting Pastor, Musician, Artist, & Blogger. He’s a big fan of Coffee & Bacon and is currently planting a Church in Aurora, Colorado called Compass Church.  He is the founder of MinistryBackpack.com.

Show Notes: Seven Questions With Pat Webb

In this episode, I interview Pastor Pat Webb with “Seven Questions.” Pat Webb is founder and lead pastor of The Crossing Church in the Dallas/FortWorth Metroplex. He and his wife, Carolyn, started the church several years ago to specifically reach those far from God in a contemporary, culturally diverse setting.

Pat has always been a risk taker and is driven to lead on the cutting edge, exploring new ways to get out of our four walls and into the community. Pat has ministered for more than 40 years in Worship and Pastoral roles in Texas, Colorado and Tennessee.

The Crossing Church
http://thecrossingdfw.com

Some Highlights and Links From Today’s Show:

“Vision is not buildings, Vision is people.”

What Pat would do differently:

Pat would invest more into people.

“We don’t build churches – We build people who build leaders who build churches.”

“I would realize earlier that I can’t do it alone.”

He would wait on God’s timing. Pat says, “I had a tendency to ‘run ahead of God.'” He would do that differently.

He would realize sooner that “those closest to you in your camp will discourage your vision,” and not to listen to the naysayers.

He would realize sooner that “Failure is not Fatal.”

“We have a tendency to listen to the ‘naysayers.'”

He would learn earlier to please God rather than people.

“If you’re going to follow God, it’s going to take risk.”

Resources Pat Is Currently Using:

The Bible App (Pat has his church going through Reading Plans together)
http://www.Bible.com

Word Search
https://www.wordsearchbible.com/

Craig Groeschell’s Leadership podcast
https://www.life.church/leadershippodcast/

Book:
Unqualified: How God Uses Broken People To Do Big Things” by Steven Furtick

On Keeping His Family Relationships Strong:

He keeps a consistent Friday Night “Date Night” with his wife.

He sends his wife Bible verses of encouragement every day.

Every day when his wife goes to work, he “lays his hands on her” and prays for her.

Pat’s Basic Schedule:

Monday:  “Holy Hangover” day – Reflects on the wins of the weekend.
Tuesday:  Office stuff and meetings. Sermon Prep/Message research.
Wednesday & Thursday: Nuts and Bolts of Message preparation
Friday: Day off
Saturday: Morning – Trimming/editing the message – practices delivering it.
Sunday:  Arrives at 7 a.m., Runs through the message about 3 times before the service begins.
Afternoon – “Veg time.”

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 “Artist Unknown” – https://artistunknown.bandcamp.com/

Join me for a Facebook Live  event at 10 a.m. MST on Tuesday, July 18th. Frustrated? Feeling numb or empty? Are you serving mostly out of duty, these days? How do you get the joy back in ministry? Let’s talk about that! Like, comment and ask questions now, and we’ll add it to the conversation…

Facebook.com/MinistryBackpack

The Replay has also been posted on Youtube, and you can watch it here:

Show Notes: Seven Questions With Bill Leckie, Part 2

In this episode, I continue my interview my brother, Pastor Bill Leckie, with “Seven Questions.” Bill is a Pastor, author, blogger and speaker who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. He has over 30 years of ministry experience in churches large and small.

Bill Leckie
http://www.BillLeckie.com/

Gateway Church
http://gatewaypeople.com/
* In the time since this interview was recored, Bill has moved once again into full time speaking, writing and ministry through Bill Leckie Ministries. He is “Thriving in Transition.”

Some Highlights and Links From Today’s Show:

Bill’s Basic Schedule (While serving at Gateway):

M-F – at the office
Weekends – Teaching or on rotation

It is flexible, and includes open spots for various meetings with people.

Daily time is blocked out for:
* Strategic Thinking
* Administrative duties
* Study Time
* Lunch 🙂
* 3-5 p.m. – “Work alone” time

Weekends:
* If on rotation, he’s at the church on Saturdays from 3 p.m.- 8 p.m., and on Sundays from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
* If not on rotation, he’s there to teach a class

When he was serving as a Senior Pastor, he was at the church on Sunday mornings at 7 a.m. till about 1 p.m.

His calendar is on Outlook, so everyone can see that he is busy (without the details) at certain times.

His scheduling rule for years: He schedules his day, his wife schedules the evenings.

Bill’s Books:

A Crisis of Culture: Reconciling My Religion With The Gospels
Reflecting on the season of a difficult ministry experience, the book is a chronicle of his healing process. Studying Jesus and His culture, Bill explores how Jesus dealt with people: He was Real, He was Relational, and He was Redemptive.

Releasing Your Potential: Living The Life You Were Made For
God has formed and fashioned every person with the potential necessary to partner with Him, fulfill His plans and purposes, and live a life of meaning and fulfillment. This potential is what He sees when He looks at us and it is what He speaks to in each of us. Throughout scripture we find the Lord speaking to the potential that He sees in the individual rather than what seems obvious on the surface. He views us through the eyes of a master craftsman and loving Father. He speaks to what is potential and therefore possible for each of us in this life. The issue for us is choice. The difference between the sense of fulfillment and awareness of a meaningful, purpose filled life in each of us is less about our potential and more about our decisions.

View Bill teaching on “Releasing Your Potential” at Gateway Church:

Bill Leckie Teaching on Releasing Your Potential.

Thriving in Transition: Lessons From The Wilderness
Transition is inevitable, seasons change, and ultimately we can either survive, struggle, get stuck, or Thrive! We can benefit, learn, grow, and be fully prepared for the next season by going through transition. Utilizing the Old Testament metaphor of the account of the Exodus, Bill uncovers lessons each of us can apply to our own lives, citing Paul’s New Testament exhortation in 1 Corinthians that ” all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11 NKJV).

Find All of Bill’s Books Here:

Find all of Bill's Books here.

A Few Final Thoughts:

“Remember that our churches are not our source – God is our source. We should not look to our people as a means to our end; they are the people of God.”

“Someone once asked me the question, ‘Do you ever wonder what’s on God’s mind?” And I said, ‘I know what’s on God’s mind.’ And they said, ‘Really?’ and I said, ‘Yes – You and me. People are on God’s mind.’ And so, how we view people, how we value people, will be demonstrated in how we treat people.”

“If God is my source, then I understand that He has no trouble with provision. And if provision seems difficult, He’s just getting my attention and reminding me who my source is.”

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 “Artist Unknown” – https://artistunknown.bandcamp.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Show Notes: Seven Questions With Bill Leckie

Summary: In this episode, I interview my brother, Pastor Bill Leckie, with “Seven Questions.” Bill is a Pastor, author, blogger and speaker who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. He has over 30 years of ministry experience in churches large and small.  I’ve known him pretty much since I was born, and I can honestly say that he’s the real deal.

Bill Leckie
http://www.BillLeckie.com/

Gateway Church
http://gatewaypeople.com/
* In the time since this interview was recorded, Bill has moved once again into full time speaking, writing and ministry through Bill Leckie Ministries. He is “Thriving in Transition.”

Some Highlights and Links From Today’s Show:

“I will never say to anyone (about questions related to ministry), ‘You’ll learn.’ If there’s anything that I know or that I’ve learned, even through my stupid mistakes – if someone else can vicariously learn from that – well, I will offer that gladly to anyone.”

It’s important to spend time with other pastors, and offer genuine encouragement – not “pat” or “bumper sticker” answers.

About “Pat” or “Bumper sticker” Answers:
“I hate ‘bumper stickers.’ If I’m reading one, it’s because I’m stuck in traffic, so I’m not going to be in a good mood. You try to get them off of your car and they leave a mess. We have a lot of things like that in Church life, where we give “pat” answers to people. We stick a Band-aid like a ‘bumper sticker’ on a gaping wound and say, ‘There. Go and be with God.’ It’s unfortunate. When people are hurting, those kinds of answers are infuriating.”

What he would do differently if starting over:

“I would not find my sense of worth or validation or identity in being a Pastor.”

“It’s very easy for us to define ourselves as a person by that title, and I think that that’s very unhealthy. I think it produces an unintended byproduct, and that is that we are ‘pretenders.’ We actually (become) performers.”

“Performance-based acceptance is really a reflection of an unhealthy view of God as our Father.”

“Maybe we go through a season where we don’t have a Pastoral position, or we don’t have a job – now our identity is in question.”

“Before we are pastors, we are believers; we are Christian. We have a personal, intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. So that’s where we find our worth.”

“We all come with baggage that our families helped us pack – and that includes our Church families. Here’s the reality, though – someone else may have loaded that into my backpack, but it’s in my backpack, now and it’s now my responsibility to do something with it.”

“The other thing that I would do differently is that I would be much more careful with my schedule, so that I would not, in the name of ministry, miss time with my family. I would make my family more of a priority – they were a priority, but my schedule didn’t reflect it.”

A Short List of Things That Bill Would Share “From An Older Minister To A Younger Minister“:

1. Make your family more important than ministry.

2. Don’t allow ministry to define or limit your dreams.

3. Forgive quickly and don’t become cynical.

4. Keep a childlike awe and wonder about life and God’s goodness.

5. Believe completely in His purpose and plan for your life and the lives of your family.

6. Laugh daily and don’t be ashamed to cry when life hurts.

7. Heal, learn, and never stop growing as a person.

8. Make every life decision by the word of the Lord, knowing that you’ve heard God’s direction and it’s confirmed in your heart.

Resources Bill Is Currently Using:

Logos Bible Software:
https://www.logos.com/

Book:
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
By Greg McKeown
http://gregmckeown.com/product/essentialism-the-disciplined-pursuit-of-less/

Book:
“How To Have That Difficult Conversation”
By Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
On Amazon here. 

On Keeping His Family Relationships Strong:

– Being very intentional about scheduling time, and then protecting that time when it is scheduled.

– Be present when I’m “present.” It has to be something that I value.

– It’s hard for me to stay focused, so if I couldn’t do it for long periods of time, I would schedule more short periods of time.

– With my kids, it was about just being there as much as possible.

“A problem that most ministers have is that they don’t know how to rest. There’s usually two extremes – they’re either lazy or they don’t know how to rest.”

Find All of Bill’s Books Here:

Find all of Bill's Books here.

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 “Artist Unknown” – https://artistunknown.bandcamp.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ministry Backpack Podcast Episode 14 Show Notes:

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

Resources and Links mentioned in this episode:

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

Understanding – Knowledge of God & True Wisdom

Suggestions for growing in “Understanding” in our ministry leadership:

1. Always be prepared. Don’t “wing it.” Study, prepare and be ready for the groups and ministries you lead and responsible for.

When you don’t know what you’re talking about and just flying by the seat of your pants, people will figure that out pretty quickly. Then they will stop listening, they will stop following, and they will stop trusting your judgment.

2. Keep growing and learning. Make a commitment to becoming an ongoing learner.

* Read/consume more things that will help you grow and learn. “Leaders are readers.” – Harry S. Truman’s quote – “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

* Begin to memorize and meditate on Scripture. As a result, through the power of personal experience with God’s Word, you develop more authority and passion about the Scripture. It isn’t just something someone told you, it’s something that you are personally living and learning.

* Search for Wisdom – Make it a life-long Quest.

Proverbs 2:3-5
3 furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, 4 if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. – HCSB

   Make it an exciting, life-long journey to gain wisdom.

*  Pray and ask God for wisdom & understanding.

James 1:5
5 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be gven to him. – HCSB

1 Chronicles 1:10 (The Example of the Younger King Solomon)
10 Now grant me wisdom and knowledge so that I may lead these people, for who can judge this great people of Yours? – HCSB

3. Keep your relationship with God fresh.

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline. – HSCB

Proverbs 2:7
For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. -HSCB

Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. – HSCB

“Growing in Understanding” as a Christian leader is more than academic – it’s relational. It flows from a strong relationship with God and His Word.

“It’s about making sure that your relationship with God is as fresh as this morning.”

Proverbs 24:5
A wise warrior is better than a strong one, and a man of knowledge than one of strength; – HCSB

“You are more ‘follow-able,’ and you have more authority as a Christian leader when you have Godly wisdom. It is true “understanding,” and it is an essential.

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 “Artist Unknown” – https://artistunknown.bandcamp.com/

 

Preachers are sometimes a funny lot.

We work like crazy to deliver messages that are accurate, biblically sound, powerful, moving, God honoring, timely, and memorable for our churches and all who hear them.

But we often hate to listen to recordings of ourselves speaking.

This could be for a number of reasons:

    • Lack of Confidence – Maybe we really can’t bear to hear how we actually sound.
    • Arrogance – Maybe we don’t feel we need to improve in our preaching.
    • Ignorance – Maybe we just don’t see the need and advantages of listening to our sermons.

I had a pastor friend who used to refuse to listen to recordings of his sermons. “I preached it,” he would ask me, “so why should I have to listen to it?”  With a good-natured laugh, my answer to him was always: “Well, we had to listen to it! Why shouldn’t you?”

Preachers should listen to recordings of their own sermons.

Not for self-focused or arrogant reasons, but for the purpose of constantly improving and getting better at communicating the truth of the message to the people in our churches.

Side note:  If you listen to your own sermons because you think you’re brilliant and you just love the melodious sound of your voice, you have other issues to deal with…

The truth is, if you preached it, you haven’t really heard it. And there’s a lot that can be learned from hearing it.

Here are a few things I’ve learned from listening to my own sermons/talks/messages:

  • Some messages were not as good as I thought they were.
  • Some messages were better than I thought they were.
  • I have annoying habits that I need to work on.
  • I sometimes use repetitive phrases like, “you know,” and “and ah..”
  • I sometimes have a nervous laugh.
  • Sometimes I talk too fast
  • My introduction was too long.
  • My timing was off.
  • My energy level was not what I thought it was.
  • I can see through the “baloney.”
  • I was trying too hard.
  • I was not trying hard enough.
  • The joke was lame.
  • The message was too long.
  • The message was not long enough.
  • I hear what really worked and connected.
  • The application wasn’t clear.
  • I didn’t explain the theological concept clearly enough.
  • There’s more, but I think you get the idea.

Hearing these things the way others heard them when I preached them helps me to avoid those things the next time. I get better, my people understand and engage with the message better and God and His Word are better honored in the process.

I know you can obsess over this process, but the point is not to beat yourself up every week. The idea here is to sharpen and hone your ability to communicate the Word of God in a creative and compelling way.

James 1:19-20 says:
“19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. – ESV”

So a word to my preaching pals:

Be quick to hear (Listen to your sermons).

Be careful (slow) about what and how you preach (speak).

And don’t get offended (angry) that I’m suggesting that you should listen to your own words. 🙂

He who has ears to hear, let him hear…

Image credit: Wodonga Australia 
————

 Johnny Leckie is a Christ Follower, Husband to Leona, and Father to MatthewMelissa & Michael. He is also a Church Planting Pastor, Musician, Artist, & Blogger. He’s a big fan of Coffee & Bacon and is currently planting a Church in Aurora, Colorado called Compass Church.  He is the founder of MinistryBackpack.com.

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

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 Johnny Leckie is a Christ Follower, Husband to Leona, and Father to MatthewMelissa & Michael. He is also a Church Planting Pastor, Musician, Artist, & Blogger. He’s a big fan of Coffee & Bacon and is currently planting a Church in Aurora, Colorado called Compass Church.  He is the founder of MinistryBackpack.com.