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Monday, December 15, 2008

I am frustrated.  I am not happy about things in ministry right now.  This morning, at 4:30 – God told me why.

Yesterday, after church, I was discouraged about the numbers.  The “numbers” game can kill a pastor/leader if you play it – the old counting of “nickels and noses.”  I know this and yet I want to balance that with the understanding that a healthy church should be growing.  We are meant to grow.  And we are not growing like I think we can or should.  It makes me mad – it is keeping me up at night.

I’m frustrated that our church is not reaching more people for Christ.  I’m frustrated that our church isn’t focused more on reaching the people in this community.  I’m frustrated about reading other pastor’s blogs and tweets about all the people they are reaching and wondering why we can’t do that here?  I know we can – I know God wants it – and I think I am finally starting to want it more as well.

God is doing something in me.  He is squeezing my heart.  I am becoming more and more sensitive and broken for the people in our community/world who are far from God.  We have got to do something – we have to act now.  But, I feel misunderstood – pulled in a million different directions – I don’t think others feel the same way and I’m not sure how to get them on board.  Yes, part of me would like to use a sledgehammer – but that doesn’t seem very pastoral!

I have to admit it’s easy to get off course.  It’s easy to lose focus and forget why God has us here in the first place.  This morning, I have a little bit more understanding as to why I feel the way I do.  And I’m more determined to live my life making an impact for Christ while I can – if you get that good – if not – I’m sorry.  I’m tired of trying to please everyone.  I’m tired of fighting battles that should never be fought.  I’m tired of going to sleep at night in a comfortable bed with my sins forgiven - knowing that many people in this city and many people around the world won’t.  I’m tired of having the answer to life’s biggest question but not sharing it because we are too concerned with our own happiness and comfort or of offending someone else in the church.

I want to be His – I want our church to be His church – fulfilling His purpose in this city.  For me, this begins with focusing on reaching just one more person for Christ.  Just one more.  Just one more.  It’s not about big numbers – it’s about that next “one.”

Here’s a great post by Gary Lamb on Two Types of Churches – you shouldn’t have to guess which one I want to be.


Kelli M said...

I am sorry that you were up at # - but glad that you were listening tot he LORD. It is so encouraging to hear people responding to what HE is laying on your heart - and that you are responding. Not easy - not alone - but talking and responding to HIM. I love it!

Scott Cheatham said...


If I had a dime for every time I felt like that after 7 1/2 years in the field, I'd be rich.

Reading the blogs of those others as you mention can be quite discouraging until you realize your situation is different and unique. Those handful of blogs represent less than 1% of church planters as a whole and you have to focus on the ministry God has given YOU.

In the past year I've seen 7 church plants close in the Denver area and 2 more are close behind. This is just in my immediate area. Most of the pastors just got burned out and moved back east to where they were from. It's sad because we can be easily consumed by this.

If God has truly called you to plant a church, then keep your focus, determine your target, and go after it.

Merry Christmas!

Greg B. said...

Wow my friend. Yea, I have been frustrated too. Know that as a friend, a brother, and a member of your congregation that we love you. Keep speaking the Truth. Many people have a hard time accepting the Truth ;The Word of God cuts deep.

My prayers are with you Joe--let the Holy Spirit keep leading you--I see it, I know it I'm with you my friend, the un-saved keep me from sleeping too.
Look around though and see what God IS DOING. Hang in there my brother.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 (King James Version)

11As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,

12That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

13For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Anonymous said...


Travis Penn said...

Thanks Joe. I needed that.