Discouragement in ministry is real. When you are down, how do you get back up?
It does not matter if plans you had are now unfulfilled, you are surrounded by small-mindedness, people leave your church, you hear unending criticism, or you are just facing a season of barren and grind, discouragement is difficult. But it is not terminal in ministry.
Now is the time to embrace the battle and move through it.
4 Ways to Get Through Discouragement
1. Share with God about where you are.
Pastors tend to talk about their discouragement with other people more than we talk about it with God. Pastor, the moment you sense you are discouraged, begin with God. Talk to Him about it.
If you do not, the very thing or things that have led you to this place in your life will lead to even greater discouragement. Failing to unpack where you are with God is a major mistake in ministry.
2. Set your eyes on Jesus.
Jesus does not disappoint, but people do. Looking at others will lead you to major disappointment. Get your eyes off leaders in your life and members of your church.
Set your eyes on Jesus. He is with you.
3. Settle forgiveness now.
In ministry, you will face all kinds of things and encounter all kinds of people. This will challenge you greatly, especially when you are disappointed in some way.
Ministry is hard enough, but to carry resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness is like walking on a treadmill carrying a 100-pound backpack. You will not go far or last long.
Remember: Never let anyone outside of your circle of love. Settle now, whatever or whoever I encounter, I will forgive.
4. Surge forward.
You will never overcome discouragement by ignoring it or letting it paralyze you. You cannot surge forward in your life and ministry while looking backward.
People who hurt you are people who have been hurt in their life. You have to know this or their hurt toward you will transcend to the way you treat other people.
It does not matter who did what to you and when they did it. What matters is how you will respond to it. This is why we must surge forward in forgiveness.
This is what leaders do.
Ronnie Floyd is senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry. This article first appeared on his blog at ronniefloyd.com.