Well this does it-let me know what ya'll think!
Everything you have just read is what I have worked through in my life over the last few months. I was ready to give up and call it quits. I was ready to get a “real” job and be done with this thing called ministry. I felt alone and wasn’t sure if I was going to make it any longer. This was because I was in a depression caused by discouragement in ministry. It was crippling, it affected me on a daily basis. There were some days where I even struggled to get out of bed and do anything productive whatsoever. It was a time filled with self-doubt, questioning where God was in my life (if I even knew Him), and how I was going to survive, whether in ministry or just life in general. It was very real and is a very real issue among pastors in the world today.
Discouragement in ministry is very real, I have lived through it, and I anticipate again, in the future. If left unchecked it can lead to depression and possibly even someone leaving the ministry. However with this tool we have just provided you may find encouragement that will help you through discouragement the next time you are faced with it. This project has been designed to be a tool that someone who is facing discouragement can use to work through the difficult time in their own life.
You have looked at several resources that address the issue and how to solve it. Additional resources are provided in the bibliography which follows. In addition to this, you heard words from your peers who are in the trenches with you. By answering the questions provided to them, they show what some of the warning factors are that we can be aware of before we even face discouragement. We know most of them to be things like lack of support, unrealistic expectations, self-doubt, apathy and poor communication among staff. The better aware of these stressors we are the more equipped we will be when we face discouragement. Finally you saw some practical ideas to put into place now before you ever face discouragement. If you choose to put into action the material provided in these pages you will be able to solve the problem of discouragement in your ministry. In fact, you may even be able to take discouragement and use it for your benefit the next time as a way of showing how awesome God is in your life and the lives of those you minister to. I pray that this has been a helpful resource to you and let me leave you with this blessing from Numbers. It is still one of my favorite passages of Scripture of all time:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
Always remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Akers, Tony. “Survival Skills for ‘Lifers.” Group September/October (2004):100-104.
Baker, Tim. “Avoiding the Crash: Understanding the Difference Between Passion and Adrenaline.” Youthworkwer Journal November/December (2002): 22-28.
Borthwick, Paul. Organizing Your Youth Ministry. Wipf & Stock, 2004.
Burns, Jim & Mike DeVries. The Youth Builder. Ventura, CA: Gospel Light, 2001.
Chromey, Rick. Youth Ministry in Small Churches. Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, 1990.
Curtis, Brent, & John Eldredge. The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997.
Erickson, Ned. “Who’s Following You?” Group May/June (2006): 86-94.
Evans, Len. “An Army of One.” Group September/October (2006): 92-96.
Fields, Doug. Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry: A Personal Practical Guide to Starting Right. El Cajon, CA: Youth Specialties, 2002.
---. What Matters Most: When NO is Better than YES. El Cajon, CA: Youth Specialties, 2006.
Hart, A.D. Coping with Depression in the Ministry and Other Helping Professions. Waco, TX: Word, 1984.
Johnston, Jon. Christian Excellence: Alternative to Success, 2nd ed. Franklin, TN: JKO Publishing, 2004.
Jones, Tony. “What’s on My Mind: On Sabbatical.” Youthworker Journal November/December (2002): 20.
Lawrence, Rick. “3 Dirty, Rotten, Youth Ministry Lies.” Group September/October (2006): 74-79.
Lloyd-Jones, D. M. Spiritual Depression: It’s Causes and Cure. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1965.
London, H.B., Jr. & Neil B. Wiseman. Pastors at ‘Greater’ Risk. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2003.
---. The Heart of a Great Pastor: How to Grow Strong and Thrive Wherever God Has Planted You. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1994.
Matty, Danette. “Under the Gun: Dealing with Pressure from Above (Church Leadership, Not God).” The Journal of Student Ministries March/April (2007): 30-33.
McCartney, Bill. Blind Spots: What You Don’t See May Be Keeping Your Church from Greatness. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003.
Parrott, Les III. Helping the Struggling Adolescent: A Guide to Thirty-Six Common Problems for Counselors, Pastors, and Youth Workers. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000.
Penner, Will & Dan Sanders-Wooley. “Youth Workers and Pastors in Partnership.” Youthworker Journal January/February (2003): 23-26.
Peretti, Frank. The Wounded Spirit. Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 2000.
Seely, Andrew. “Youth Pastor in Exile: Grieving Over Losing My Job.” The Journal of Student Ministries Online March/April (2007). 17 April 2007. www.tjsom.com.
Stier, Greg. Ministry Mutiny: A Youth Leader Fable. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2006.
Van Cise, Glen. “Ministering to Job. The Journal of Student Ministries March/April (2007): 40-43.
Warren, Rick. “Fighting Discouragement.” 30 Nov. 2006. Called to Be Free. 18 April 2007 http://calledtobefree.org/article.cfm?id=82.
Yaconelli, Mike. “Dangerous Wonder: You Just Hang On.” Youthworker Journal January/February (2003): 63