Each of us has ministry hopes and dreams that God has implanted within us, all-consuming passions that motivate us to press on. It’s the power of these visions that sustain us through our journey of faith. Like me, you may have God-given dreams that have not yet come to fruition.
- A debt-free church and property
- A healthy staff and church family that loves and appreciates me, their pastor
- A positive presence and influence in the community
- A decent income for my family
- A ministry school to train those called to the five-fold
- Working with my oldest son in full-time ministry with a growing church These were some of the dreams of my heart for many years. Yet, due to the lack of results and the pervasiveness of the situation, I was discouraged to the point of quitting pastoral ministry. I struggled with regret and feelings of inadequacy and depression. People came to my church for hope, and I knew they weren’t getting what they needed. They came with expectations, but I could sense their frustration when they left with them unmet. The situation exacerbated with this ongoing pressure – both internally and externally. It was all my fault. I was joyless. My high hopes and dreams out of sight, daily life became about survival, not success.
Value of Relationships
At my lowest point, God sent healthy, spiritual leadership into my life to speak to my wounded spirit and start the healing process. I thank God everyday that I received a call weekly from a healing evangelist. It was my ongoing life- line; it sparked my spirit to begin again. I still didn’t have the strength to go in my own power, but receiving his call inspired hope and vision while I was able to be transparent, sharing my vulnerability and hurt. This relationship sparked my fire. Each call gave me fuel for my spirit for the week, but it also gave me practical strategies to build and grow a church. I learned a new appreciation for godly relationships with mentors and fathers, and I found the value of being able to open up to someone trustworthy when I am vulnerable, weak and hurt.The fresh fire and the new life of Christ poured back into my spirit and I felt like I was baptized in the Holy Spirit all over again!
A Lesson of Humility
Through these phone calls, I learned humility. In the past, I had struggled with feelings of intimidation when around people of greater strength or anointing. I found myself competing with them internally. As I recognized and received the anointing of this father figure, I received hope, strength, and life.
One minister said, “We are as sick as our secrets.” In my desperation, I was willing to acknowledge the sickness I had been masking and make adjustments to become well again. I chose life-giving changes.
Humility makes adjustments; pride makes excuses. As I adjusted my character, I thought less about my ministry and more about my healing and desire for holiness.
Applying the Word
The catalyst to my spirit, this growing mentor ship, encouraged me to go back to the power of Scripture and daily speak twenty to twenty-five “rhema” verses over my life and family. My mind was renewed. Through daily Bible reading, study and meditation of the truths of God, the depressing darkness in my heart was replaced by the comfort and power of the Word! I was sparked and fueled again to go forward in my faith. I also received over this period of time practical pastoral strategies to build and grow.
Returning to Fasting and Prayer
While in my depression, after praying so long and hard with so little results, subconsciously I had begun to pray less and less with no fasting. As I regained my footing and strength, I learned the importance of breaking away from the day-to-day routine of pastoring to spend regular, intimate time with God. He gave me specific periods of time where I focused solely on Him and His presence as I sat at the feet of Jesus. Like Paul, I began to pray with greater purpose from an active position for the needs of my heart, family and church.
The Fulfilling of Dreams
Over time and with great support, I began to regain strength. My son was coming into his own ministry in a new way. Together, we were building a team. Soon thereafter, our church experienced growth and we transitioned to two Sunday services. Then we built a school. Then we built a larger church debt-free. Now we hold three weekend services and are building a larger facility. My dreams are coming to pass!
But as those dreams that once absorbed my focus are being realized, God is already giving me new dreams for the next season.
If you are going through a tough time right now, if the stress of unfulfilled or slowly progressing dreams is absorbing your focus, I want you to know that I would be honored to be that trustworthy person you can talk to. I understand where you are. I’ve walked that road, and my heart is to pass on the blessing of friendship to other pastors as it was passed on to me during one of the lowest points of my life. I encourage you to email me at [email protected].