The dawn of a new day pulls you out of your much-needed sleep. Your mind immediately replays the various conversations and teaching associated with a jam-packed Sunday of ministry. Against your better judgment, but out of habit, you reach for your phone and click on the e-mail icon.
Your eyes quickly spot an e-mail from a trusted ministry leader in your church informing you a husband has left his wife despite repeated exhortations to entrust his troubled marriage to Jesus and allow their close friends to journey with them in love. Lord, not another marriage crisis! Your mind races through the possible scenarios, anticipating the energy needed to shepherd this couple standing at the brink of divorce.
Then you see another e-mail from another ministry leader expressing how her life is falling apart. She admits she’s struggling to trust God and is questioning everything about Christianity.
Church leaders often grow weary dealing with constant waves of suffering and sin. The challenges of ministry are overwhelming, demanding, and relentless. You battle guilt and shame as you experience schedule overload, fear of not knowing how to deal with a certain situation, dislike of conflict, procrastination, and even “compassion fatigue.” However, God makes it clear what he expects from those he places in leadership. He holds them accountable for their pastoral responsibilities (Ezek. 34; 1 Pet. 5:1-11; Heb. 13:17). By his grace, pastors can look to and follow Jesus, their Great Shepherd, as he empowers them by his Spirit to accomplish his purposes in and through his church.