Serving Leaders who Serve

Pastors at Risk.
Pastor’s at Greater Risk.
Time Bomb in the Church: Defusing Pastoral Burnout.
On the Brink: Grace for the Burned-Out Pastor.
Clergy Killers: Guidance for Pastors and Congregations Under Attack.
Zeal Without Burnout.
Reset.

These are just a few of the dozens of books that address what I can only regard as a crisis – or a near crisis – in the lives of ministry leaders in the 21st century: Pastors, evangelists, elders, counselors, youth leaders and others who are discouraged, worn out, struggling with unbelief in the promises of God, and – in all too many cases – ready to throw in the towel and get out of the demanding arena of Christian ministry.

This is, quite simply, a time of crushing challenges for those who are involved in Christian service.

“The days of “cultural Christianity” are gone in most areas of our nation. No longer can churches and ministers assume that people have an inherited respect for the clergy, the church, and its ordinances.

“Our pervasive secularism treats virtually everything connected with “religion” as unimportant, foolish, meaningless – or all three. And this brings the temptation for ministry leaders to either compromise truth or become disheartened by the opposition on every front.

“Consumerism and materialism constantly challenge the realm of “faith rather than sight”. Ministry leaders who are called to serve the Lord feel the pressure to become servants of the “felt needs” of others. And that felt need for things this sensory world provides can – oh, so easily – usurp our real need for the grace of God that comes from the unseen world of heaven.

“Burden Droop. Pastors and others who are called to bear the burdens of the people they serve not only must meet these challenges in the life and labor of their own calling, but they must help others meet these challenges in their spheres of life and service.

“A worldly culture of entertainment and amusement works against and erodes a Christian culture of edification – edification that demands thought, often painful self-examination, repentance, faith, and exertion. Ministry leaders feel this “conflict of cultures” day in and day out.

“Our hyper fast-paced, production oriented, “Amazon Prime Service” society becomes a metaphor that challenges ministry that must be patient, that often seems to “produce” nothing, and – given the sheer humanity of Christian leaders- is hardly able to do things as quickly and efficiently as computers and machines.

To put it bluntly: The internal pressures of stress in our society that is hardly friendly to historic biblical Christianity are every bit as challenging as the external pressures of persecution in other societies that are no friends of the Bible, Jesus Christ, and the Christian faith.

And the results in the lives of too many ministry leaders are tragic:
“Daily temptations to discouragement, a sense of hopelessness and futility, and even to suicide. (We don’t want to admit it, but not a few ministry leaders have either attempted to take their own lives or have actually succeeded in their attempt.)

“Stresses on marriages and families that can easily lead to severe marital or family conflict, divorce, and/or the rebellion of children.

“Exhaustion from over-work and a deeply felt sense of inability to meet all of the demands that press on them at every moment.

“The pressure to “perform” in competition with professional performers who captivate the eyes and ears of the people to whom we are called to be “faithful servants”, not comedic entertainers.

“Temptations to retreats into the enslaving world of pornography, actual sexual escapades, the over-use of alcohol, and dependence on drugs as ways to get relief from the seemingly non-stop pressures of ministering to seemingly non-stop needs.

We forget that not only are ministry leaders frail human beings who struggle with sin and guilt just like those they serve; but they’re also sheep in need of shepherds. They’re servants who – whether they admit it or not – also need to be served. And if they aren’t ministered to, sooner or later their ministries will fail.
Ministry leaders, church members, Christians concerned for the health of those who serve you: Are you listening?

Our topic for today’s Visit to the Pastor’s Study is Serving Leaders Who Serve. And I have two men with me who are trained and experienced in doing just that.

David Wiedis is a Jew who was converted to the Christian faith in 1972 at age 16. David is a graduate, summa cum laude from The College of New Jersey. He also attended Villanova Law School where he graduated magna cum laude in 1986. He also has a Master’s degree in Christian Counseling from Cairn University where he earned a Certificate of Advanced Specialization in Christian counseling. He is also an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church in America. His professional experience in the legal field is both varied and fascinating; but, for our purposes today, you should know that David Wiedis is the Founder and Executive Director of ServingLeaders Ministries: An organization dedicated to serving ministry leaders and their families through pastoral care, counseling, ministry coaching, mediation, legal consultations, seminars, and more. Over the past 10 years, ServingLeaders Ministries has helped thousands of people both in the United States and abroad.

Joe Bruni is the Director of Operations and Strategic Advancement for ServingLeaders Ministries. Joe earned his BA degree in Speech and Language Pathology from the University of Vermont, and later received his Master of Divinity degree from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in America. Having served for 10 years in Main Line Philadelphia as Area Director for Young Life, he now serves full time with ServingLeaders Ministries.

Both David Wiedis and Joe Bruni of ServingLeaders Ministries are my guests today as we learn more about this crucial field of ministry: Serving Leaders who Serve.

David Wiedis and Joe Bruni, welcome to A Visit to the Pastor’s Study….

Here’s a link to the full program:

Yours in the King of Kings,
Pastor Bill