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Finding Courage in the Midst of Ministry: Reflections on Life's Crossroads and the Call to Humility

I’ve been more contemplative lately. Youthful exuberance is slowly giving way to the deeper well of life, swirling with pain and loss, sin and sorrow, joy and delight. Life tends to do that—hopefully. 



I realize I’m at a crossroads many have approached. Middle age. Likely more years behind than forward. Not old and no longer young. I recognize Satan’s ploys, but I’m certainly still susceptible to them. I’m vulnerable. I’m in a season where many have traveled and crashed. Disqualified. 


Even for preachers, choosing hedonistic pleasure above and beyond the pain is a recurring choice. Even for preachers, choosing narcissistic pride is always a subtle whisper from the Liar. They’re coming for you. Everything rises and falls on you. Make sure you don’t let them down so they keep coming. Even for preachers, choosing fear over failing forward, for fear of disappointing the masses, disappointing ourselves, leaves us trapped with little vision, little energy, little of much to offer. Especially for preachers. Especially for this preacher. 


In February, I was blessed to attend the Best Practices for Ministry (BPM) conference at Christ Church Lutheran, in Phoenix, Arizona. I pray you can come next year. At BPM, I was honored to share the LCMS story of empty pulpits with few creative plans to resolve the struggle, at least in the near term. I paused in the middle of the talk. The room was heavy. Fear was present. I almost bullishly pressed on toward potential solutions, unsure if anyone of note in leadership positions would listen. I prayed for courage. We need courage.


I recently released a Lead Time podcast that many found helpful. Precious saints said nice things to me. I was encouraged. Yet, the Holy Spirit reminded me constantly, “This is so much bigger than you, the ULC, or any of the petty political divisions in the LCMS. Your life is hidden in Christ. Be a branch. Stay connected to the Vine. Invite others to do the same.” 


Pride threatens to steal our courage. How? We think this “thing” called leadership rises and falls on us—on me. It doesn’t. This is Christ’s Church for which He bled, died, and rose. The Father and the Son sent the Spirit. He will grow His Church. Humility comes at the audacity that He chooses to use us—His broken vessels, His wounded healers, His bound and freed beggars—simply sent to help other broken beggars find food. Food that lasts. 


We need courage that looks beyond us, that lives inside us by faith. A courage that enters like the wind, propelling us fear-less-ly forward. We need the courage of the Holy Spirit.

 

All renewals of the Church start with two things. 


One: a hyper focus on the Kingdom of God—the King on His throne, the King that looks at his fallen creation and says, “Mine. All of it.” 


Two: a hyper focus on the work of the Holy Spirit—the One who moves like the wind, making us His dwelling place, breathing the breath of life into our dry and weary bones.


We all stand up, a mighty movement under the banner of God’s love for us—for the world. 

Do not be afraid. The Spirit of the risen Christ is on the move for us and through us. Have courage. 



 



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Thank you for this beautiful encouragement to pastors, their wives, and actually, lay leaders within the church. As we keep our eyes on Jesus and stay attached to His vine, He will give us the direction, courage, and perseverance to do great things for His church —Unite Leadership Collective is one of those things. Thank you!

Curtir
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