Dragon Slayer, Disciple Maker~ A Preacher Wages War, Wins Souls & Saves Children from Prostitution & Poverty in Nepal

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_your_Heart_Dragon_Slayer_Disciple_Maker_Part_OneIt is my honor to interview and introduce you to dragon slayer, disciple maker and preacher, Reverend Brian Williams and his wife Ruth whose ministry my daughter, Abby, served under on her mission trip to Nepal. You can read Abby’s account in my prior post entitled, Echoes.

Please welcome Brian and Ruth.

Part 1

I am an Anglo-Indian. My ancestry is a mixture of the colonizer and the colonized. I look Indian and I am most at ease in an Indian culture but I speak and think with the English language.

Brian Leonard Williams is my name and I grew up speaking English as my mother tongue.

My maternal Grandfather’s name was Edwin Joseph Seaman, a British engineer and part of a group of pioneers of the Indian Railway.

 

Himalayan Railway Train

These were the days when British engineering was revolutionizing communication and trade across India, much of it to the benefit of the British.

Image from: On India’s Frontier; or Nepal, the Gurkhas’ Mysterious Land Author: Ballantine, Henry     

My biological Father was an Englishman named Edward Canute Roberts. However, after getting my Mother pregnant, Edward left for Australia without marrying her. So I was born in the huge metropolis that is Calcutta in 1970 to a single Mother, Antoinette Matilda Seaman, who had little means to support us; a gritty start to life. To the rescue came my Dad, Roy Ainsley Williams, a gifted diesel-engineer. He fell in love with my pregnant mom Antoinette and they got married. So Roy became My ‘real’ Dad. He was a wonderful Dad in spite of being a hopeless alcoholic. We went for walks together and ate fried fish, it’s still my favorite food. It turned out that Dad Roy was a great friend, but a poor provider. Given half a chance he would sell everything and disappear for several months at a time. I hardly ever saw him sober. I remember yearning for a sober Dad. My Mother rescued the family finances. She was industrious and resourceful, finding work as a secretary. We were poor but never went without food.

I spent the next few years at St Bedes orphanage and boarding school in Chennai, India run by the Roman Catholic Salesians of the Don Bosco order. My Mother scraped and saved money to send me there, searching for every discount and scholarship available.

My Father was Church of England and My Mother was a Roman Catholic. But we only went to church at Christmas and Easter. I had been exposed to religion at school, but essentially I was non-religious; my religion was the dance floor. I lived for dancing and womanizing every Saturday night—Shakin’ Stevens, The Bee- Gees, Boney M. I had all of the vices you would expect from a teenage lad. I remember rewriting and singing hymns for fun in the Chapel with rude and mischievous words, fighting, lying, lusting, cheating, stealing. Not in a big way, I was just one of the lads, and we got up to all sorts of pranks.

When I was nineteen, our family returned to Calcutta. I went to college to study for a Bachelor’s degree in commerce. For two years I continued to play the field. Addicted to women, I danced and drank my way through all of the pleasures that life had to offer. I lived for the day; I was an Epicurean. But the more I filled myself with worldly pleasures, the more empty I felt. Was self-centered pleasure all that there was, or was there a purpose to life? What did life mean? What if I was Michael Jackson, with all that money, fame and success? Would that satisfy? I put myself in Michael Jackson’s shoes. No, it wouldn’t, I decided. What if I had a family, a loving wife and a tribe of happy children? I would take my place in the natural birth and death cycle— would that satisfy? No, it wouldn’t. I came to the conclusion that life was utterly meaningless.

We tagged along from Calcutta with a band, just hanging out, parties and lots of fun—you know the way young people do. I found myself joining a group of music friends in Hyderabad, a large city in central India. Then a band member gave me some prophecy books which had Bible verses and newspaper articles on either side of a page. I was shocked that Bible verses had meaning in current events. I then found a Bible, but when I saw a long genealogy, just a list of names, I thought it  was an out of date meaningless book. I threw it in the corner of my room. However, whether out of a sense of politeness or by divine prompting, I decided that I should at least out of courtesy, read a few verses from the Bible, then I would return it. I opened the Bible at random and found the book of Proverbs. It was like holding up a mirror. I saw myself in the words of Proverbs, like the woman at the well. This book told me about myself like no other literature I had ever read. I read right through Proverbs, then Ecclesiastes, warming to its theme of ‘everything is meaningless.’ I thought, I could have written this book. By the time I was reading the book of Psalms I was on my knees in my hotel room committing my life to Christ. That was in 1989.

I read through the Bible three times in just nine months. I welcomed Christ into my life and started attending a Church in Hyderabad. I left my old lifestyle and returned to Calcutta to finish my degree in commerce and was baptized as a Christian. At the age of twenty-two, I was marching to the beat of a very different drum. But I still have a lot to learn from God’s word and daily yearn to feel His hand on my life.

How long have you been married?

My wife is a Nepali from Darjeeling, India, which once belonged to Nepal, but was taken by the British for their amazing tea. Before that, the kings of Nepal sold Darjeeling to the kings of India for a harem of girls, so it’s a very complicated place. Ruth Reshma and I were married in 2001 in Mirik, Darjeeling. We came to Nepal on our honeymoon and never left. So technically we are still on our honeymoon…sixteen years and counting.

How many children do you have? I know some of your children are fostered. Can you tell me a little about them?

We have four sons and a four month old daughter. Three of them are chosen from the womb of my wife and two are chosen from the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal. One son, Sujan is an outreach leader with Youth With A Mission in Lucknow, India and another son, Sameer, is a youth leader in a Christian school in Denmark. Our two biological children, Samarth and Saran, are in primary and secondary school. Our small boy loves sports and his older brother loves to play the guitar and soccer.

Did you think when you got married you would be fostering children?

Never planned to, but we are pleasantly surprised. Before Marrying Ruth Reshma I went on an 80 day fast for our marriage and family. God told me that I was the sun and Reshma (means moon) would have nine planets in our solar system. We tried to figure out what that actually meant. We have five, so four more planets are yet to form in our family.

FullSizeRender (1)-002Please Describe your Ministry.

I, (Brian Williams), founded The Agape Mission International, (Tami), in 1998 in India, with the goal of living out our biblical calling to assist women and children at risk, as well as to create new apostolic disciples. It started with a church in south India, (which still exists) but is now a movement of 200 plus churches in Nepal and India.We oversee seven head pastors who manage all these churches.

We serve the at risk people group in a FullSizeRender (2)-003multitude of ways.We minister in the slums through our Tara Non-Formal Schools. We have our street kids soccer and food ministry.

We reach out to cabin restaurants and dance bars all the while maintaining a Women at Risk Ministry Center where we offer training for eight different skills for women at risk.The Bethesda Bishram prayer and retreat house is where we give local pastors retreat opportunities as well as a camp to host mission teams into mountain villages.

Bethel Ashrm is a place for mentoring at risk people into leadership as well as marginalised youth from churches who are going through various challenges.

You have other people living with your family. How many people live in your home?

Bethel Ashrm, is our home in Kathmandu, Nepal. Its name represents what takes place there. Bethel means “house of God” and Ashrm is taken from Hebrew and means “fire, head, and water.” Therefore, our vision for Bethel Ashrm is that it would be a place where our mind is set on fire by the Holy Spirit and washed with the water of the Word of God.

Inside Bethel Ashrm, we care for rescued FullSizeRender (3)-001children and disciple four to five young people at a time to start their own ministries and churches both in Nepal and around the world.

We offer Leadership Internships and Apprenticeships for Missionaries going to and from Nepal, India, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. We also have youth volunteers who are sent to my churches for leadership mentoring.

Along with our five children, we currently have ten other children living in our home. These ten children include kids who were rescued from dance bars, the streets, abusive homes, or abandoned during the earthquake.

Please read more here:

http://leadersnepal.blogspot.com/

http://leaderstorynepal.blogspot.com/

http://bethelashram.blogspot.com/

How did this came to be? Did you and your wife envision your home like it is when you married?

Nope. One day I returned from India and found that my wife had closed down the staff boys and girls houses and had taken a house so we could all live and learn together. We were then taught by God to make it into a “live and learn” house for our family and others.

Ruth, how long was your husband away when you moved your family to a different house and brought all these people to live with you?

One week.

Did he have any idea you were going to do this or was it a complete surprise when he returned home?

A total surprise.

Were you worried about what his response would be?

Nope. He came home and I took him to the new community house.

FullSizeRender (10)-001You have 15 children and several adults living in your home. How do you orchestrate meals and household chores?

Good and healthy delegation. Even the teens cook.

Brian, what were your first thoughts when you returned home and found out what Ruth had done?

I was stunned, and then realized it was the best ministry decision we ever made. Still shocked daily at seeing this ministry become the bedrock upon which all other ministries grow.

*To be continued in Part 2:  Women at Risk, Children at Risk and a Judas

     **Read my prior post featuring Jacob’s and Abby’s stories of their mission trip to Nepal here:  Echoes

***Please respect the request of the interviewee that neither the link for, nor any content from this article be posted on Facebook. However, please feel to share the link to this post by e-mail and on other platforms. Thank you for your consideration.

© 2017  Rachael M Colby                Tattoo It On your Heart

Part 16: A Fire in My Bones~ A Series of Interviews with Pastors & Wives from Around the World

tattoo_it_on_your_heart_rachael_m_colby_love_and_passion_for_god

Words are eternal. The words of God’s shepherds are precious. I will gather them. -Rachael M Colby

Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not. Jeremiah 20:9 NKJV      

Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord’s house, all the words that I command you to speak to them. Do not diminish a word. Jeremiah 26:2 NKJV

To the Pastors and Pastor’s Wives who participated in this series:

It’s been an amazing journey, a privilege, an honor, a humbling and challenging experience, to host these interviews, to gather your words. Sometimes I shouted, “Hallelujah and amen!” Sometimes I cried; often I repented. Thank you for sharing your hearts, your vision, and your lives with us. Thank you for answering the call to follow Jesus, to serve and shepherd His flock, to be salt and light to the world. 

God, as I bring this series  to a close with this last set of interviews, I pray you would bless and protect your ministers, their marriages, families and churches. I pray you would refresh them physically and spiritually, provide for their needs. Guide them; give them fresh vision and strategy. Grant them favor in their communities. Increase their faith; may they never go a day without knowing the assurance of your love and presence in their lives.

…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…Hebrews 12:1-2 (NASB)

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:12-14 (NASB)

Jesus, I pray you would pour out your spirit on Your Church. Grant us your gift of tattoo_it_on_your_heart_rachael_m_colby_cry_out_my_soulrepentance; bring healing and deliverance. Open our hearts to your perfect will, that we might choose to sanctify ourselves. God make us miserable in trivial pursuit, and discontent with complacency. Let us abhor compromise and sin and pick up our cross and follow you, Lord. Create in us a clean heart and let our joy be found in You. Give us ears to hear, eyes to see, hands and hearts that serve each other and reach out to the lost. May we become obedient and zealous sons and daughters to the tasks and destiny you have called us to. Give us holy boldness. Draw us to You, set our souls on fire; may we love You and one another as You have commanded. Bring people to salvation, Lord, and revival to our souls, our churches and our countries. In Jesus’ name I pray; amen.

Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords And strengthen your pegs. Isaiah 54:2 (NASB)

What is your favorite memory of pastoring?

We prayed for a woman who struggled with diabetes for 20 years, after which she didn’t come back to church for nearly a month. We called her house and stopped by many times, but got no answer.

When she finally returned, she testified why she had been absent for so long.

The day after we prayed for her she took her normal insulin dosage and became deathly ill. Her doctor had her admitted to a hospital for testing because he couldn’t figure out the problem.

A specialist was eventually called in, and his discovery baffled everyone. The doctors were amazed because they could not explain how her pancreas had “somehow” rejuvenated itself. She was no longer diabetic! -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

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What is the funniest or craziest memory  you have of pastoring?

Pastor’s Wife: A church member and I were hanging out, so she lent my husband her car because we only had one vehicle at the time and my husband needed to travel out of state for a men’s class. He almost missed his exit so he cut across lanes too fast. He got pulled over for “Driving dangerously.”

Pastor: I needed to find the registration and when I reached into the glove box her bra fell out. It was crazy!

Pastor’s Wife: Apparently she had had an MRI the day before, and had to leave her bra off, so she put it in the glove box and forgot it. He called me and said “Tell _____thanks for the surprise.” He was half laughing, half horrified. She was dying!! So funny.

LOL! Did he get a ticket? Or did the cop extend grace in exchange for a good laugh? I’m trying to picture him explaining this to a cop! 

Pastor’s Wife: Yeah he’s telling the cop “It’s not my car!” The cop was probably like, “Yeah buddy. Good excuse.” 😂 He didn’t get a ticket.

And then he handed the cop a flyer and invited him to church, right? 😂

Pastor’s Wife: Um, no. I don’t think he acknowledged he was a Christian in that situation. -Anonymous

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Pastor Winslow and Suzanne, how long have you been married? 

We have been married 30 years. We have six children and have been pastoring 28 years. -Pastor Greg and Suzanne Winslow, Missionary to Zihuatanejo, Mexico

How did you become a pastor?

We went to Mexico to be a helps ministry to a work already there with Bible studies. We were thrust into it by the need and embraced it a couple years later. I have planted three churches in Mexico and pastored three at once at one point. (The Winslows are currently in transition in the United States for a time, while still overseeing the work in Mexico.)

What have been some unexpected hardships to pastoring?

Hardships in the area of provision. Lack of finances sometimes made it difficult for us as large family, but God always provided.

We didn’t expect the conditions we had to live in. When we first got to Mexico, our daughter Olivia got very sick. It took a long time to figure out what was wrong with her and I, (Suzanne), had to go back to the USA with her for a time. It was a long process of healing.

Our son, Josiah was born with two holes in his heart. At age four we were told he had to be operated on or he would die in a year and a half. But God miraculously provided everything for him to be alive. He is now a pastor in Mexico.

Do you have someone you can talk to for counsel, encouragement, prayer- someone you can be open with?

Very few and very little. We had each other and the Lord. Until towards the end, we had more fellowship, leadership, under a new covering.

Would it have been easier to be missionaries if you had had that covering all along?

I’m sure it would have. But we were formed in a way we wouldn’t have been if we had. I am grateful for both.

What has been the most unexpected benefit to pastoring?

The ability to train my own family and some of them are now coming into the ministry themselves. Knowing that eight or nine preachers are a result of my discipleship.

What are some of your favorite memories of pastoring?

Baptizing my children. Dedicating my grandchild. Baptizing people as new believers who are still serving God. Marrying people who were children raised in church. Seeing kids grow up in church and come to their potential. Marrying my own son and daughter. Visiting works we pastored before and feeling welcomed. Seeing people get saved and grow. The miracles, marriages put back together.

All the good memories revolve around positive fellowship. All the negative ones revolve around the church not getting along.

What encourages you? What are some things your congregation could do to lighten your load?

People making amends, having positive fellowship instead of not getting along. The congregation having stable relationships, loving each other in hard times working out their relationships on their own. -Suzanne Winslow

Show appreciation; we are fighting a fight for your families, your souls. Be available to be trained, even when your pastor says hard things. Suck it up and be formed. -Pastor Greg Winslow

Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Jeremiah 18:3 -4 NASB

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What is your biggest challenge pastoring?

I love the reboots, the small and struggling church. I love to use my gifts for the church.

What are your gifts?

Church re-planting, bringing fresh vision and direction, putting up leadership structure and reclaiming the power of the gospel in the community. We’ve always had churches that supported us; the nucleus has always been good even if there was some cancer there,the DNA of the churches we’ve pastored has always been good. 

What most encourages you?

The change in people’s lives. -Pastor Bruce and Sarah Hanlon, Forrestdale Church, Sandwich MA

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What do you believe is the biggest threat to the church today?

Tolerance. Christians should be discriminating. They should exercise sound judgment; not no judgment. -Anonymous

There is no difference between the Christian and the world. There needs to be a difference between the world and the Church. -Anonymous

The worldliness in our own hearts. -Pastor James La Belle

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. Romans 7:18 NLT

Leaders give license. When pastors become tolerant to sin they give license to the behavior for others to continue in that way. The church needs to recognize its distance from God, repent, and take steps toward God. -Pastor Greg Winslow

What do you believe is the biggest threat to the church today?

Cultural relativism,

Biblical illiteracy,

Prayerlessness,

Fat baby syndrome from so little exercise,

Lack of spiritual curiosity,

Gun shy evangelists. -Pastor Bruce Hanlon, Forrestdale Church, Sandwich MA

People don’t tend to pray when they don’t feel threatened. Once Suzanne was surrounded by a bunch of people with machine guns in front of our home in Mexico.The danger there keeps you focused. When things are good and sweet and easy, people tend to become distracted. Some people in the USA spend more time watching football than with God. Education is overrated in US- kids go to college and don’t use their degree. They pursue what life says they should and leave out the God factor. They don’t know God, or the why or what they are here for. People in USA feel they have to pursue a good job so they can  accumulate more nice things. Some think they always need to upgrade things instead of getting by with necessities and investing in reaching people with the Gospel. Pastor Greg and Suzanne Winslow

So,  materialism and the god of entertainment? 

Yes those two, definitely. So, while we are here in the USA, we try to keep ourselves ministry minded and focused. That’s why we have shunned TV.

The false doctrine and worldliness that’s been slowly creeping in. Much of the church is using worldly things like entertainment, programs, etc., to draw people in and keep them interested, but not presenting enough sound biblical doctrine to produce disciples who are uncompromising and strong in the faith. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

What do you believe is the key to revival?

Revival is something that God has put in my heart from I was a young convert. I’ve always known it’s something God wants to do. I believe when Christians will simply take God at His word and live the Gospel lifestyle, then revival will be attached to that, a momentum you can’t stop. It starts with a few people that take God seriously. -Pastor Chip Ganiear, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod

Forgiveness and Lordship. Lordship means supreme authority. There is none higher than Jesus. Without Lordship, there is no revival. people need to not just pray to God, but actually meet with him, enjoy Him and get direction for their lives from Him.

I believe the answer can be found in 2 Chronicles 7:14. The church (starting with leadership) needs to humble themselves before God, seek Him wholeheartedly, pray, and repent.

We are in a seriously troubled time in our nation, and in the world. I urge you to turn away from all forms of worldliness, repent of any sin in your life, and draw closer to the Lord than you ever have before. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

If you love people, you will say something if they are going the wrong way. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. It’s time for the people of God to enter in. This isn’t a pep rally or wishful thinking. I am persuaded of God and by the Holy Spirit that God is doing a new thing. -Pastor Paul Campo, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod MA

If you could tell your church anything about yourself, your family, or anything else what would it be? What’s on your heart?

I suppose I would tell them that I’m human too and struggle with the sins and temptations that all people face, that patience in the face of difficulty will bear better fruit than anxiety, that I protect my family and before a word is spoken against them it has to get through me, that I love the LORD Jesus and He is my rock and salvation, that what you “feel” in your heart might not be what is real in God’s word, that truth conquers lies and light dispels darkness and there is no sin that cannot be overcome by grace. This I would tell them… and so much more. -Pastor Michael Duncan, Author, Speaker, Pastor, Mountain View Baptist Church, Darrington WA

Give God 6 solid and faithful months, 3 services a week and I guarantee your life will be transformed. -Pastor Raul and Stephanie Delcid 

I would tell them, whatever they’re going through, God is faithful; trust Him; never doubt Him; wait upon Him. -Pastor James Labelle, Pastor, Author

Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalms 27:14 (NKJV)

Is there anything else you would like to share that hasn’t been covered?

Serving God is not an option.  When you love God, He becomes your number 1 priority. -Stephanie Delcid, Missionary Wife, Cuenca, Ecuador

I would say this: See your pastor for who he is and not for what you imagine him to be. Pray for your pastor, and encourage him along the way. He is just as human as you are, filled with weaknesses and struggles – with hopes and dreams. Make sure he knows that he is not alone and that you are willing to walk with him through the fires of life. Don’t abandon ship because you find your personality at odds with someone else. Grow up a bit and embrace the faith. Shout an “amen” once in awhile! It will do you good and surprise your pastor. And, above all, be true to Christ Jesus who is LORD of all and Savior for all who believe. -Pastor Michael Duncan

…Thank you for the prayers, we appreciate the prayers so much.                                             -Stephanie Delcid

Highlights from Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives from Around The World 2016 (You may need to pause the video to give yourself more time to read some of these slides)

Songs: Soul on Fire by Third Day  &  Once and for All by Lauren Daigle

Acknowledgements

Thank you to my faithful friend Renee Williams, for putting up with my tantrums over tech issues and always being there to bounce my ideas off of. Thanks for pulling this video together at the last minute, thus keeping me out of trouble with God.

To Jerry B Jenkins my mentor at jerrysguild.comYou are the reason this blog exists. You are an amazing writer and teacher. Someday I will make you proud. I know- I still have much editing and learning to do. If you read this, you will probably find a million errors and cut my word count in half.

To my fellow guild members within our little group who share their knowledge, hearts and struggles: You inspire and encourage me. Thanks for talking and praying me through this writing journey- sometimes at 3 am as I put this series together. Indeed, we are aptly named- Mom by Day, Writer by Night. Write on, mamas.

To my local writer’s group at Brooks Free Library: Thanks for your encouragement. To our leader, author Jack Sheedy, thanks for putting up with me and pushing me just a little further. That’s why there is a video in this post.

To my family: Thanks for enduring the chaos of the last couple months and hanging in there with me in my delirious state. Thanks for reading and rereading my work, handing out website cards and wearing my t-shirts..

Most of all, thanks to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. You never leave me and always carry me through. Thank you for the privilege of being allowed to write for You. You are the love of my life.

Rachael                                                                                                         

Founded in 2010, Energize Ministries provides encouragement, refreshment, and recreational opportunities for pastors and ministry leaders and their families. Additionally, they spread awareness among churchgoers about the need to be intentional in supporting, encouraging and praying for their spiritual leaders.  Learn more about how to support and encourage your pastor at energizeministries.com

Text the word PASTOR to 74574 for daily/weekly reminders & tips to pray for your pastor.

© 2016 Rachael M Colby

Part 15: Like a Trumpet~ A Series of Interviews with Pastors & their Wives from Around the World

tattoo_it_on_your_heart_-rachael-_m_colby_asleep_in_the_lightWhen I address a minister by the title “Pastor,” it’s to show my respect for their God given calling. In doing so, I’m also reminded of God’s loving provision and covering for my most valuable asset- my soul.     -Rachael M Colby

The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 1 Timothy 5:17 NASB

Cry loudly, do not hold back; Raise your voice like a trumpet, And declare to My people their transgression And to the house of Jacob their sins. Isaiah 58:1 (NASB)

What is one of your funniest or craziest memories of pastoring?

The guy who wanted to be a living parable. He wanted to testify of what God had delivered him from, squirt ketchup on himself and then be baptized, then say the next thing, squirt ketchup on himself, and be baptized again- for each thing. -Anonymous

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Why did you become a Pastor?

My mother was a Bible Teacher. My two sisters are minister’s wives and Bible teachers. I have been a follower of Jesus since I was born again at 8 years old. I am now 73.

Because I was exceptionally gifted as an artist even as a small child (see detail story on my art website, NicholsFineArt.com), I did not want to be a pastor. I resisted and was determined to be an artist. But during an emotional and very personal encounter with the Lord, he called me to become a pastor. I was in college pursuing my art degree when I was called. I immediately changed course and the Lord has been with me the rest of the journey. I’ve served him as a pastor of a senior retirement chapel, a small country church, a large metropolitan church, and as a seminary professor of theology and Christian philosophy. He also allowed me to enjoy my art gift, which I did as my avocation.

I served as a pastor in five different types of churches in America. Being a pastor is a high and holy calling. I was privileged and completely undeserving of the opportunity. I was privileged to see the hand of God transforming people’s lives in ways that are beyond human explanation or description. I give many other details, examples and stories in my latest book, Healthy Faith: A Strategic Lifestyle to Transform Your Head, Heart and Hands.

Currently, I am giving my full time to writing, doing mission trips, and helping a number of non-profit Christian ministry organizations in the USA and Internationally.  -George W. Nichols, Ph.D.,  (Dr. Bill), Pastor, missions worker, author, artist

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Did you think when you became a Christian you would be pastoring one day?

Not at all! I believed that God wanted me to do something, but I planned on pursuing a ministry in Christian music. Even today I tremble at the idea that I’m a pastor, responsible before God and the church for the care of His flock. 

How long have you been a Christian?

I have been a Christian for 30 years. I came to know Christ when I was 19 while serving in the U.S. Air Force. (Thank you for your service, Pastor Duncan.)

How long have you been married?

My wife and I have been married for 23 years. We have three children.

Tell me about when you realized you were called to be a Pastor.

Several events happened in my life that showed me God was calling me to do the work of the ministry. First, God’s word literally saved my life from depression and potential suicide. It was through His word that I found salvation, and I committed myself that day, if God ever wanted to use me to share His word, I would. Then, through the encouragement of a chaplain in the USAF, I discovered that God had called me to preach and teach His word. Finally (though there are many sub-texts to this story), the pastor who baptized me invited me to learn from him the work of being a pastor. I served under him as his associate pastor/disciple. He was my Paul and I his Timothy. 

I have been in ministry, preaching and teaching God’s word, for over 25 years and serving as a pastor for the past 19. I have been the senior pastor of two churches, and have served as associate pastor of two others. I have been at my current church, a small rural church in the mountains of Northwest Washington State, for the last 11 years. –Rev. Michael Duncan Author, Speaker, Pastor. Mountain View Baptist Church, Darrington WA

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How long have you been a Christian?

32 years

How long have you been married?

I’m not married. My life is dedicated to serving the Lord Jesus Christ without distraction. I know this isn’t for everyone, and it was something I had to come to terms with, but I know it’s the life the Lord had called me to live.

Did you think when you became a Christian you would be pastoring one day?

No, not in the beginning. In fact I would never have thought of myself as someone who would minister publicly in any capacity. I was never good at talking in front of a group of people, even those I knew well. I was that kid in school who froze with fear whenever he had to stand before his classmates and say something.

But, the Lord has a way of changing us into what we need to be in order to fulfill the things He has planned for us, in spite of what we may see as our own personal phobias and shortcomings.

From the beginning of my walk with the Lord I have always felt compelled to be a servant to others. I have a love for people that runs deeper than most realize and a genuine concern for the spiritual welfare of others.

When visiting a church I had preached at a couple times, the position of assistant Pastor was offered to me in 1991. I had been praying for the Lord to open the door for a greater opportunity to minister and immediately recognized this as the answer to my prayer.

How many Churches have you pastored?

Three altogether. The ministry I’m currently involved with, in an area of N.E. Ohio comprised of both small towns and rural communities, is one we started approximately a year and a half ago. 

How do you keep your heart and zeal for God and people in spite of people’s failings and some turning against you?

It’s not easy. Having recently experienced two individuals attempting to create division in the ministry, this particular question is very relevant for me, as the things that occurred are still a bit of an open wound.

I remind myself everyone still struggles from time to time with their fleshly nature, which can at any moment raise it’s ugly head and cause a person to act in a manner contrary to the new nature we have in Christ.

I pray, asking the Lord to work in me anything needed to endure adversity. I trust Him completely, knowing He has called me to what I am doing, which in essence motivates me to keep pressing forward, regardless of opposition or the indifference of others.

It is never advantageous to doubt or question the Lord, but to trust. I don’t allow the actions of a few to influence my reaction to others. 

Since the Lord is the primary source of my strength, joy, and peace, the only way others can rob me of those things is if I allow them to. I do not permit others’ failings to influence my ability to rejoice in the Lord. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

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What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today?

Tolerance—watering down of the gospel and what it means to have a genuine or healthy faith. That’s why I wrote my new book, Healthy Faith. – Dr. Bill Nichols

Unwillingness to embrace sanctification. –Pastor Roger Williams, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod MA

The felt need of churches and pastors to adjust to the culture. -Donna, Pastor’s Wife

Distraction. Statistics show faithful weekly church attendance has dwindled to less than 17 percent. That is probably the greatest indicator of how problematic our generation is. The model for the Church is not what’s happening today. The book of Acts is the model, and they gathered every day, at the risk of their lives, because they felt it was important. Some lost their lives for their assembly, but that’s how dedicated they were.  

Today, it’s, “I’ve got to put my kids to bed early. My kids have sports practice..” They don’t come midweek or Sunday nights, so there’s just a religious attendance today, instead of a Biblical pattern. That’s a real threat because if people don’t come to church and hear from God, they’re not going to do a whole lot.

People resisting instead of flowing with what God is doing. People who don’t want sanctification, separation from the world. They want God to bend His will around theirs. -Pastor Paul Campo, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod MA

Social culture.  People leaving God to follow one they have created in their own image. –Pastor  Bruce Hanlon, Forrestdale Church, Sandwich MA

The greatest threat to the church today is the downgrading of the gospel of Christ. When salvation is about our comfort, our easy life, our enjoyment or our self-interest it is no longer the gospel of Christ. Jesus said that we are to deny self, take up our crosses and follow Him. There is no other road to walk—but the world has encroached and invaded the church with a social gospel, a message that proclaims hope but does not require repentance from sin or renewal in Christ. There are, today, packed out houses of worship that are filled to the rafters with pseudo-Christians who do not have any desire to conform to the message of Christ. -Rev. Michael Duncan

What do you believe is the key to revival?

Being offended can never be an option. -Pastor Greg Winslow

The faithful, weekly preaching of the Word of God. We don’t need to look for extraordinary revivals. In God’s kingdom, the ordinary (weekly preaching) is what’s truly extraordinary.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

The beginning of revival has always been and I think will always be a holy mystery. No human formula automatically produces true Spiritual revival. But some elements that seem to accompany revival include “If my people who are called by my name shall humble themselves, turn ….(II Chronicles 7:14 NKJV)   – Dr. Bill Nichols

The easy answer is prayer. But I think then we are adding works to grace. We are saved by grace, not by works. I don’t think revival is something we manufacture. I think it’s first the Holy spirit, then prayer. I think the church needs to make herself ready, but it’s the Holy Spirit that decides to bring revival. -Pastor Bruce Hanlon

God has to do it. Preachers are always ministering relevant issues to our generation, but the people hear with their ears, not with their spirit. God has to turn the switch on with humanity, Unfortunately if you use Biblical pattern, the only thing that causes people to give God undivided attention, is when there is a major disaster, a cataclysmic event. 9/11- when the towers came down, everyone wanted to unite, and they said they would never forget. But now it’s as if it never happened. We forget easily.

Locally, in our church we have limited personnel, everyone is pulling double and triple loads. We need fresh new converts with that vital enthusiasm and zeal. They bring health to the Church and inspire others. -Pastor Paul Campo, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod MA

Communicating revelation to the next generation. Personal hunger for God; being willing to sacrifice whatever is needed. History always zeroes in on a person who got ahold of God. –Pastor Roger Williams

In a word: repentance. In every true revival of the past, the call to the people was a call of repentance from sin and returning to Christ. Only then did the overflowing joy of the Holy Spirit wash through the churches and communities. -Rev. Michael Duncan

How do you feel about Jesus’ return, the rapture?

Live each day like it’s your last. -Stephanie Delcid, Missionary Wife, Cuenca, Ecuador

It’s going to happen! My personal position is Post-Tribulation, but it’s best to be ready at every moment. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

Imminent. The world disdains the things of God. The world is prime for God to do something or man will destroy himself. -Pastor Roger Williams

Imminent. It’s a lot closer than we think, the stage is already set. -Pastor Greg Winslow, Missionary to Zihuatanejo, Mexico

I’m all for it! Anytime He’s ready to come—and until then, I pray that I may win one more soul to Him. -Rev. Michael Duncan

Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! John 4:35 NKJV

The Bible says Jesus will return and there will be a rapture. Since the Bible says so, I believe it. Interpretations as to how, when, where, and other human elements are a wonderful mystery hidden in the mind of God. Their reality keeps me working and witnessing while there is still time. -Dr. Bill Nichols

I’m torn; there is so much work to be done for unreached groups. I look at the possibilities in new countries and Bible translation, but then I look at American culture and say, “Please come. Can’t come soon enough. Even so come.”

I’m glad it’s not up to me. We just need to focus on who we need to be and the mission in front of us.

Wake up and stir the sleeping Church. A large segment of the Church is asleep. Asleep in the light. -Pastor Bruce Hanlon

Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 1Thessalonians 5:6 NKJV

Asleep in the Light -Keith Green (Live from Estes Park, 1978) 

© 2016 Rachael M Colby

Part 14: I Call Him Pastor

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I was a new convert, only saved a few weeks when I walked into his office. I didn’t want to be there, but my life was a mess and I needed counsel. I had come to the Cape to work for the summer, run from my life, get drunk and pursue my modeling career, but somehow, I ended up becoming born again instead.

“Can I sit on the floor?” I said.

“What’s wrong with the couch?” he said in an even tone.

So, I sat on the couch. I felt like he could look right through me. I couldn’t stand him. He suggested I move to the Cape and serve God. I hated Cape Cod, didn’t like most of the people either, and I had friends and family all over the world. Why would I do that? So, I took a detour via Florida and Europe. I called him from Spain. I wanted him to tell me what to do so I wouldn’t be responsible if it didn’t work out. He told me he already counseled me once, I would have to pray about it myself. Nine months after I left, I surprised everyone. “What are you doing in about an hour and a half?” I said to the friend who had brought me to church. “Can you pick me up from the airport?”

“Pray about it.” That’s my Pastor’s mantra. He wants me to have my own relationship with Christ, to learn to hear His voice.

My pastor called me aside at prayer one morning shortly after I started dating my future husband. “Rachael,” he said. “Virtue is in the hands of a woman.” With those words my pastor set the responsibility of purity squarely on my shoulders.

You won’t keep your purity by mere good intentions or good moral convictions, but by being a vigilant soldier, setting deliberate boundaries and guarding them. So, I decided to take the really high road, a different route than before I invited Jesus into my heart. My husband and mine’s first kiss was on our wedding day. And we still managed to figure things out- without the test drive. Really. 

Early in my salvation, a visiting minister preached a message entitled, “Despise not God’s anointed.” In the Bible account, David has been chosen by God and anointed to be the future king of Israel, but the ruling king, Saul, is hunting him down to kill him. David had the chance to kill Saul, but instead crept up when Saul was unaware and cut the edge of his robe off. Even though David spared Saul’s life, his conscience bothered him. This is what David said:

So he said to his men, “Far be it from me because of the LORD that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’S anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the LORD’S anointed.” 1 Samuel 24:6 NASB

I didn’t answer the altar call because I didn’t want my pastor to see me. The next sermon was on not responding to altar calls. I went to the altar.

I believe if I let God be God and keep my heart right, He will provide for and protect me and bring me to my destiny.

My pastor is not perfect; he’s just a man, as are all preachers. But he’s the man God provided to shepherd my soul. I believe, as we care for those God has set over us, praying for and treating them with respect and appreciation, He empowers them to care for us. So, I have chosen to honor the ordained authority God has been kind enough to place over me.

I’m not speaking of blind following. Pastor worshipers don’t do well in their walk with God, because sooner or later they wake up and realize the god they created has failed them, or offended them and they derail as their reference was on the man and not the God the man represents. Likewise, those who are like a horse who shies from his groomer when his bridle is reached for, refusing to be led, don’t fare well.

I am responsible to know the Bible and be governed by it. If a minister or anyone else deviates from the precepts of the Bible, it’s my job to stay the Gospel course and humbly pray for their redirection or recovery, realizing we are all fallible. Here’s the balance between blind following and being rebellious and unteachable:

Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NASB)

Gossip and slander are bloody weapons that harm the intended and erode the spirit of the attacker. Giving ear to it is as bad as speaking it.

So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! James 3:5 (NASB)

Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.1 Chronicles 16:22 NASB

The background for my words on my graphic is crime scene tape because some people murder their ministers and others with their mouths and in so doing they tear down God’s prophets, themselves and the Church. Some starve their pastors and families of support, but then expect them to be able to carry all. What if the time spent speaking negatively about pastors and their wives was used to pray for their needs and shortcomings? Instead of magnifying problems, become part of the solution.

There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18 (NASB)

The scripture below speaks of Aaron and Hur who supported God’s man, Moses their leader, in his weak and weary time. As a result, everyone was victorious.

As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle. Exodus 17:11-13 NLT

Life is too short and eternity is too close to be at odds with those we are called to love.

I believe, when I extend grace to others, it’s there, waiting for me down the road when I need it. If I am gracious to others, God will be gracious to me.

Summer 2014

The warm summer sand and the salty air brought no solace as a friend and I talked about recent events in our lives and those around us. Life as we knew it was imploding and exploding all at once; spiritual debris and the resulting carnage surrounded us. I couldn’t see or hear clearly from all the noise and smoke. My heart ached.

“God.” I said in anguish. “I want no part in this.” I saw myself walking backwards on the beach, away from the direction we were going, as if I was being pulled and everything began to fade. “Jesus, I’m coming to you.” I said. “I hide myself in You. Cover me.” And Jesus was there. His presence fell. It was as if He held me and He began to speak to me and show me things. I didn’t know at the time I was breaking up the soil of my heart, planting seed, or that one day in October I would be called into a field, and my soul would catch on fire in the midst of a storm as I placed myself on the altar again.

Do you know what I’ve found in 29 years of following Jesus? Even when holding to high standards is not popular, or I face persecution, or things don’t go as I wish in spite of standing for what’s right; it’s worth it. A clean conscience and no regrets is priceless.

When God was handing out charisma, my pastor wasn’t there. But he’s steady. His heart is for God and souls; he proclaims the uncompromising message of the Gospel and upholds its standards. My pastor’s eyes are fixed. His goal is to get as many in the boat as possible and safely to the desired haven-Heaven.

Dessert is nice, but it’s not a diet to sustain a healthy life. I expected whipped cream with a cherry on top, but God gave me a Pastor who serves up meat and potatoes. Amen.

           © 2016 Rachael M Colby                        Tattoo It On Your Heart

Share some words of appreciation for your pastor and he will be listed on the Wall of Honor and entered to win a retreat at the Energize Lodge. http://energizeministries.com/latest-news/pastor-wall-of-honor/

Founded in 2010, Energize Ministries provides encouragement, refreshment, and recreational opportunities for pastors and ministry leaders and their families. Additionally, they spread awareness among churchgoers about the need to be intentional in supporting, encouraging and praying for their spiritual leaders.  Learn more about how to support and encourage your pastor at energizeministries.com

PART: 13~ Restoration Story

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Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35 NKJV

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37- 39 NKJV

Did you think when you became a Christian you would be a pastor’s wife one day?

It did not cross our minds at the time, but it didn’t take long to feel like it was our calling.

Tell me about when you realized you were called to be a pastor’s wife?  

Actually, before we got saved I spent some time in a women’s maximum security prison. There I would have dreams of my husband preaching under a big white tent. So when we got saved, it all started to make sense.

What kind of challenges do you face as a pastor’s wife raising Preacher’s Kids?

I think the same challenges as any Christian, except everything they do is magnified. So, raising kids who understand why we do what we do. Always reassuring them that being a servant is worth it.

What is the hardest thing about being a Pastor’s wife?

In our first church, I was always under the critical looking glass. As we pastored our other churches that hasn’t been an issue.

What has been the most unexpected benefit to pastoring?

Being a missionary.

Are you ever lonely?

All the time. The language barrier of difficult for me. My husband is fluent and I am not so I do feel left out. I battle it by being in prayer.

Who inspires you?

My pastor. I don’t have a pastor’s wife, she died of cancer yet he still prays for the sick and believes in the power of healing. That speaks volumes.

Do you ever want to quit?

No, we understand that Jesus warned us of violations and persecutions; it comes with the job.

Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23 NKJV

How do you keep your heart and zeal for people and God, in spite of people’s failings and some turning against you?

We serve God for who He is not what He can do for us. That’s enough. 

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Can I share a very personal experience?  

When we pastored our first church, I was raped by a disciple, a 19 year old boy who we took in under our wing. He was an orphan and struggling teen, a two time offender, but we thought he had changed. It was so traumatizing, it took us out of ministry for two years. I couldn’t understand how something like that could happen. I didn’t trust people and I didn’t want to open my life up. It tested my marriage. It tested my faith.

It took a real miracle to bring me to the point where I realized that we will be violated and persecuted as we serve God, and for me to love Jesus enough to open my heart and trust again.

To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Isaiah 61:3 NKJV

Just want to say that Jesus is worth serving no matter what tribulations we go through. God has totally restored my heart. I love people and trust again and He is doing amazing things in our ministry now. 

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 (KJV)

What is your favorite thing about being a Pastor/ Pastor’s wife?

Helping people make it into their destiny. Stephanie Delcid, Missionary Wife, The Potter’s House CFM, Cuenca, Ecuador

Tell Your Heart to Beat Again -Danny Gokey (a story & a song)

© 2016 Rachael M Colby

Part 12: A Day in the Life ~ A series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives

I have heard people say “The pastor has it so easy; he doesn’t have to go to work. What does he do all day? All he has to do is write a few sermons a week.” So, the following few questions are aimed at setting the record straight. What does a day in your life as a pastor look like?

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It’s not routine. I like that it’s it’s different all the time. For example this week I spent 30 hours painting the church. There’s counseling, church council meetings,  staff meetings. I do maintenance there’s no full-time janitor here so I do the dump runs.

The apostle Paul said he worked harder than all so as not to be a burden to the church. To be a part of the body is to serve and I should be the first to do this.-Pastor Bruce Hanlon, Forrestdale Baptist Church, Forrestdale MA

 

There is no way of quantifying the day in any particular structure. It is such a fluid situation. Some days I can take the day and press through my studies without interruption. Most days, however, it never happens so easy. As the pastor of a small church, I am called upon by my congregation for everything from marital counseling to plumbing. It’s not a 40-hour/week situation. Much of my time in the evenings is taken up by meetings, planning sessions, hospital visits, seminars, conferences, emergencies. I teach multiple Bible studies as well as services on Sunday. So a “day-in-the-life” of this pastor is often different every day. For instance, yesterday I spent several hours in the morning with a church member and then returned home to study. Today, I spent my morning studying, counseling, working on this questionnaire, and tonight I will be out of town with another member of my church. I’m usually up by 6:30am to have morning coffee and devotions with my wife before she goes off to work (she’s a school teacher) and I’m finally in bed around 1am. Besides all that, I am also a published author and am working on several other manuscripts. –Pastor Michael Duncan Author, Speaker, Pastor. Mountain View Baptist Church, Darrington WA

 

I wake up at 4 AM, spend 1-2 hours in private devotions (Bible reading, prayer, meditation). After breakfast and family worship (Bible reading, prayer, singing), I get to the office between 8 and 9 AM. Unless I go out for an appointment, visit, or counseling, I am at my desk working until I leave for home at 4:30. My work involves studying for my weekly sermons and teachings as well as my bi-weekly and monthly teachings; writing sermons, sermon outlines for the congregation, and Sunday School or Bible Study lessons for the people to use as I teach, responding to and sending emails; answering the church phone; calling on people in the church in need of various kinds of ministry; pursuing outreach and evangelism opportunities; and, when I can make the time, working on my writing projects (I’m researching for my 4th book now). Also, by God’s grace, I just completed my doctorate, graduating with a Doctor of Divinity degree in Puritan Studies. -Pastor James Labelle, author, Pastor, Presbyterian Church of Cape Cod

 

No two days are alike. Besides the obvious personal responsibilities and time set aside for message preparation, personal prayer, etc., there are numerous other things that can arise at any moment.

Some days the phone rings constantly with calls from people requesting advice, counselling, prayer, and on occasion help in an emergency situation.

Then there are many other things will that occur on various days of the month. Involvement in community affairs. Fellowship meetings with other  ministers. Home visitations, checking in on people in the hospital, nursing home, etc.. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

Pastoring is more than preaching. Pastors have to care for people; it’s meeting whatever needs you can: visits, counseling, praying for deliverance, work crews to fix houses. Training people for ministry- my job is to work myself out of a job.  -Pastor Greg Winslow, Missionary to Zihuatanejo, Mexico

On average how much time does it take you to put together a sermon, including research, study, etc.?

On average, it takes about 20 – 30 hours a week. –Pastor Michael Duncan

4-5 hours, but it’s never really finished until it’s preached.-Pastor Roger Williams, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod

5-6 hours when I was younger, now it takes days, I go back and proof and add things. The burden of needs and to be an oracle for God is a tremendous responsibility. I need Him to show me needs and speak what He wants me to say. I need a burning ember, the rhema of God. It takes travail for that. -Pastor Paul Campo, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod MA

15-20 hours a week. It’s all interconnected, reading, praying, reading my Bible. I’m always thinking this would be a good sermon, or minister to this person and then I will pray for them right then. – Pastor Bruce Hanlon

The average sermon usually takes me 12-15 hours, initially, to prepare. But when I revisit it on Saturday (since I usually finish it on Tuesday), I will spend another 4-5 hours working and praying through it on Saturday and Sunday morning before preaching it. –Pastor James La Belle

5 minutes – 7 days! – Pastor Greg Winslow

I am answering this question as a pastor’s wife. We have been pastoring for 15 years. He is currently a working pastor because the church cannot afford his salary. I’ve witnessed many times my husband on his knees crying out to God for souls. There have been countless nights that I woken up at three in the morning and my husband is not in bed because he is praying.  We have learned as a family to give him quiet time when he is writing sermons usually Tuesdays and Thursday nights. I have seen him searching the computer for illustrations,  digging through commentaries, searching the Scriptures as he puts together a sermon. I have seen him spend an average of 3-5 hours on one sermon. Sometimes he’ll leave in the middle of one to go for a walk, or drive or simply to pray. Because  we have three church services a week, between preaching, praying, and sermon writing my husband spends a little over 20 hours a week just on sermons alone.  Never mind the countless hours of his own Bible reading and praying before God, phone calls, and Counseling sessions.

 

My father-in-law and brother-in-law granted us a large sum of money to buy a home. Overwhelmed by their generosity,  my husband and I asked why are you doing this? To which they replied, “We have seen your sacrifices.” I burst out crying because even when others don’t see our sacrifices, God does, and it’s in those moments that He uses others to let us know.  So when someone thinks we’re just sitting around the house all day because all we do is pastor a church,I leave it in God’s hands. –Ruthanne Laine, Pastor’s Wife, Victory chapel, Dover NH

 

Quite honestly, I don’t think it would be possible to provide an average time. Each message is different. Some fall into place in a matter of hours. Others can take days or weeks to prepare. There have been times I’ve spent 4 or 5 days preparing a message, then the night before the service I’ll reread  my notes and realize it’s lacking something. On many occasions I’ve stayed up nearly all night on a Saturday reworking a message for that very reason. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

As a pastor, it usually took about 40 hours per week of prep time. I had three sermons per week to prepare, plus funeral, wedding, and special event messages. -George W. Nichols, Ph.D., Pastor, missions worker, author, artist

How much time do you spend in personal Bible study, prayer, reading, a day?

I always tried to spend at least 10% of my waking hours in personal study and prayer. Now I spend about about the same, 3 hours per day. -Dr. George W. Nichols, Ph.D.

It often depends on the day. But, on average, it’s about 3-5 hours a day. –Pastor Michael Duncan

3 hrs. -Pastor Roger Williams

About an hour and a half. -Pastor Greg Winslow

Prayer, at least an hour of concentrated time. But also throughout the day I am constantly talking with the Lord or praying in tongues.

Bible study, other than what is required for message preparation also varies. But I do spend at least 2 hours in the Word daily

Then there’s something I started doing a couple years ago that’s been very beneficial. Listening to the Bible on DVD while I’m sleeping. It helps me to enjoy a peaceful night’s rest and wake up feeling spiritually energized.  -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

What are some duties you perform for the church on a regular basis that your congregation may not be aware of?

Perhaps the simple things, such as making sure the tables are all set up for fellowship meals or making sure the heat is on in the building go unnoticed. But, what does that matter? I don’t serve to get noticed but to make Jesus known. –Pastor Michael Duncan

Cleaning . nursery duties. Help with books and paying bills. Overseeing things, making sure people have what they need. -Lori Ganiear

It is varied. This week, I need to correspond with a lawyer in terms of setting up structure of how our church functions with planting churches. -Pastor Chip Ganiear, Victory chapel CFM, Cape Cod

Fixing electrical equipment, setting up before concerts, events. Visiting the hospital. –Pastor Roger Williams

Administration duties, prep, cooking for special events. It takes us four days to set everything up so it’s taken care of before we go out of town. everything has to be planned in advance. –Pastor Paul Campo

What are some things your church could do to lighten your load or refresh you and your family, so you can better serve God and them?

My church is so supportive of me and my family. I am grateful to the Lord for their care and love. I think it would help if I had an associate pastor to help with the ministry; and I pray that the Lord will provide him when I’m ready. -Pastor La Belle

Be a part of the church. for example, hospitality teams. I’m not spending hours setting up and cleaning up after an event. Everybody needs to be involved. -Anonymous

What would refresh me is involvement. When the church begins to function as the LORD purposes, there is not load too heavy or burden so great that it cannot be borne by all. I want to see participation – share the love of Christ, attend the services on a regular basis, connect with someone new and tell them the good news of Jesus. I would be most encouraged when I see a member of the church bringing others to faith in Christ. –Pastor Michael Duncan

Be present. Have a willingness to serve, bring new people to church. When everyone works together like an orchestra, we get a lot more done. -Pastor Paul Campo

Help follow up, help outreach. -Pastor Raul and Stephanie Delcid

What is the hardest part of being a pastor?

When people don’t grasp the destiny and potential they can have if they stay serving God.  -Pastor Raul and Stephanie Delcid

What is your biggest challenge pastoring?

Getting people to catch the vision. -Pastor Raul and Stephanie Delcid

To get ahold of God and get a vision for this last generation. trying to become all God wants me to be personally. You need to have discipline and inspiration and the hand of God if you are going to make it as a pastor, or are you going to come up empty and reach burn out. You must have a heart for the people and for the ministry because you’re certainly not in it for the money. –Pastor Roger Williams

What kind of challenges do you face raising Preacher’s Kids?

The fish bowl. Your kids are expected to be to be perfect, they are not allowed to fail and succeed. How much is too much and how much is not enough? How much do you force on your children/let them make their own decisions? -Pastor Bruce and Sarah Hanlon

What has been the most unexpected benefit to pastoring?

The depths of extraordinary sorrow and the heights of remarkable joy, these have been unexpected benefits. –Pastor Michael Duncan

Learning from others. Sometimes even the youngest of Christians have spoken such profound wisdom that it makes me wonder why I hadn’t thought about or considered those things before. It’s a blessing being around people whose hearts are aflame with passion for the Lord and His Word. I can’t begin to express the gratitude I feel for how being around God’s people has enriched my life. It’s given me the ability to look beyond my own little world and forced me to consider others in a whole new light.-Pastor, Transformation Ministries

What has been the most unexpected hardship to Pastoring?

Violations from people who we gave everything to and for. -Pastor Raul and Stephanie Delcid

What is your favorite memory of pastoring?

The thing that stands out is when  things didn’t work out pioneering a new church.We were moving back to a church I was unfamiliar with to a new state. My brain was short circuiting. I was beside myself with all the upheaval. I remember going down by the river, a spot I’d go to sometimes to pray and just throwing it all out there at God. And somehow God just grabbed the reins of my mind and emotions and showed me He was right there with me. God told me that this was right where I needed to be. “It’s not over, it’s just the next step. I’ve got you covered.” It’s one of these reference points where God just says, “Calm down; I’ve got this.” -Pastor Chip Ganiear

 

Seeing the people “get it.” My greatest joy is seeing the people meet Jesus in the preaching of His Word. They come to church hungry, and when they get filled by the preaching of the Word, my heart is overjoyed. -Pastor James Labelle

 

Perhaps my favorite memory (and there are so many) is when a young man came up to me and told me that he was going to speak the truth in court because of what he heard me preach. He trusted the LORD that day and repented of his crimes, and then threw himself into the merciful arms of Jesus—trusting that only by telling the truth would God intervene in his situation. –Pastor Michael Duncan   

What is the funniest or craziest encounter, situation you’ve experienced during your ministry that you are free to share?

We were having revival and the Spirit was moving tremendously. People were getting healed instantly and the whole church was abounding with joy and praise. All of a sudden it felt like the floor of the church was floating. Many of the members thought it was a move of the Holy Ghost. I discovered the next day while watching the news, an earth tremor had affected our area the night before. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

 

When a man came into my office, set his gun down and told me that he was going to kill every pastor he meets. After talking with him for some time, we prayed together and he, in tearful repentance, walked out of my office and promised to return home and seek the help of Godly men in his community. –Pastor Michael Duncan

© 2016 Rachael M Colby

Share some words of appreciation for your pastor and he will be listed on the Wall of Honor and entered to win a retreat at the Energize Lodge. http://energizeministries.com/latest-news/pastor-wall-of-honor/

Founded in 2010, Energize Ministries provides encouragement, refreshment, and recreational opportunities for pastors and ministry leaders and their families. Additionally, they spread awareness among churchgoers about the need to be intentional in supporting, encouraging and praying for their spiritual leaders.  Learn more about how to support and encourage your pastor at energizeministries.com

Text the word PASTOR to 74574 for daily/weekly reminders & tips to pray for your pastor.

Part 11: Thy Will~ A Series of Interviews in Honor of Pastor Appreciation Month

Thy Will be Done -Hilary Scott

What most breaks your heart?

When the Church doesn’t love and back bites each other. When they do wrong- prodigal sons.-Pastor Greg Winslow, Missionary to Zihuatanejo, Mexico

When I do what I know, and have told others so many times, is wrong. -Pastor James La Belle, Presbyterian Church, Cape Cod MA

O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Romans 7:24 NKJV 

 Knowing what people are really like, not what they portray. -Pastor Campo, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod MA

Stagnancy. People who are just there for themselves and don’t do anything. People that know, but don’t do.  –Pastor Bruce and Sarah Hanlon

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:17 NKJV

When people walk away from Jesus and His church is what breaks my heart the most. –Pastor Michael Duncan

When people walk away from destiny. -Pastor Raul and Stephanie Delcid.

Seeing people walk away from the faith. Knowing I’ve made every attempt to reach out to them, only to be met with rejection and rebellion. Then witnessing their downfall as they gradually and methodically slip deeper and deeper into an ungodly lifestyle. -Pastor Transformation Ministries

When you have no words to console someone who has lost a loved one. When someone passes into eternity without salvation. But I’m  comforted when someone is saved. -Pastor Roger and Allejandra Williams

Do you ever want to quit?

Yes… many times I have thought about quitting. –Pastor Michael Duncan

If we had 10 cents for every time we wanted to quit we’d be billionaires. -Pastor Greg Winslow

God always talks us out of it. -Pastor Paul Campo

For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.     1 Corinthians 9:16 (NASB)

Absolutely not! There are times when things can seem overwhelming or frustrating. To deny that would be wrong. But, wanting to quit isn’t something I’ve ever struggled with, or viewed as an option. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

Absolutely not. There’s nothing in the world I would rather do. When the Lord calls you, He gives you a heart for the calling and a heart for the people and work to which He’s called you. I’ll gladly die in the Lord’s service. -Pastor James La Belle.

No, I never wanted to quit. The Bible is filled with men who accomplished what God called them to do. My reward is to serve, to tell someone about Jesus. -Pastor Roger Williams, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod

What keeps you going?

We serve God for who He is not what He can do for us, everything else is just an extra blessing. -Pastor Raul and Stephanie Delcid

Keeping focused on God, not ourselves. Knowing our work for the Lord is not in vain.  -Pastor Greg Winslow

The grace of God keeps me going, and knowing that to give up now—to put my hand to the plow and look back—is unfit for the Kingdom. –Pastor Michael Duncan

My faith in God most of all. Knowing he will always remain faithful in spite of how things appear at any given moment. Knowing if I remain faithful to Him and the call, He will always carry me through every test and trial bringing me into a place of victory. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

Four things kept me going. (1) My personal relationship with our Lord which includes my personal calling. (2) The evidence of lives radically changed by the power of our Lord’s Spirit in their lives. (3) The encouragement of my greatest earthly gift, my precious wife. (4) Serving God’s children who are poor and hurting. -Dr.George W. (Bill) Nichols, Ph.D., Pastor, missions worker, author, artist

But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 (NKJV)

What most encourages you?

When people turn to the LORD Jesus for salvation and when Christians find a greater level of faithfulness and love for Jesus—oh, that warms my heart! –Pastor Michael Duncan

Our reward is people doing well in God. -Pastor Paul and Linda Campo

This may sound almost cliche’, but the promise of the resurrection. Knowing all the struggles, evil, and suffering this world throws at us is only temporary. Believing we have a hope beyond this life that is glorious. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

People still serving God years after we left a church to pastor elsewhere.  –Allejandra Williams. 

Seeing people step into the their destiny as an extension of the ministry and into the Harvest field. Seeing new ministry rise up. Especially the youth. An example would be our boys band, getting to be a part of encouraging them when they were just starting out.   -Pastor Roger Williams

Who inspires you?

Dr. Gary Martin in California is one of my biggest inspirations. He is my “father” in the faith, was my mentor and pastor and is still a source of great encouragement for me. I am also inspired by the life of other men such as Oswald Chambers, Evan Roberts, C.H. Spurgeon, my father-in-law Eldon Iverson, and a host of other men who have gone before me and made the road a little straighter for men such as myself. –Pastor Michael Duncan 

My spiritual mentors. I have a few. Certain authors whose books I read- Yancy, Willard, Larry Crab, Henry Nouwen, Mark Buchannan. -Pastor Bruce Hanlon

Rick, a former pastor. Even though he’s gone home to be with the Lord, many of the things he taught me and the example he set as a man of God are forever engraved in my heart and mind. If there was anyone other than Jesus I would choose to be like, it would be him. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

Pastor Mitchell. People who for years despite what has been thrown at them, just continue and power on and have revival. That is what captured my attention at first. Real revival. There are people who grabbed hold of it and they’re seeing it. I really think we are standing on or just over the threshold of great things God is going to do. I believe we are closer today than ever before to things God has been promising for many years. -Pastor Chip Ganiear

My pastor. Pastor Mitchell. I go back to a critical time in my life when I needed to hear God’s voice Jesus made himself real to me and told me He was going to take care of me. The grace of God inspires me. -Pastor Roger Williams

Do you have someone you can talk to for counsel, direction, encouragement, and prayer, someone you can be really open with? What about friends? 

My mentors. I am a  member of a local fellowship of ministers from several churches in the area. -Pastor Bruce Hanlon

Fortunately yes! Other ministers and long standing Christian friends have always been a tremendous source of help for me when needs like this arise. Especially one person in particular who I’ve been acquainted with for many many years. Although we live nearly 3,000 miles apart, they are only a phone call away whenever I need someone I can pour my heart out to, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt they will be completely honest and open with me, while at the same time never being overly critical or judgmental. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

The level of expectations placed upon a pastor makes it difficult to find someone who is able to fully hear your heart. So, to answer this question… no, I don’t have someone I can counsel with or be really open with besides my wife. Very few expect that I’m actually human, with real feelings and failures, with joys and sorrows. I have, in the past, tried to be open and transparent with some—only to have my innermost thoughts and struggles come back against me by the very ones I hoped to trust. So I trust my heart to my wife and my LORD. –Pastor Michael Duncan

How do you keep your heart and zeal for people and God, in spite of people’s failings and some turning against you?

Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23 NKJV

I simply look to the cross and remember what Jesus did for me when I was still an enemy of God. –Pastor Michael Duncan

Having a relationship with God- that has to come first, to be the focal and balance point of your life. -Pastor Chip Ganiear

I pray for the one who has turned, that keeps me from being bitter. I read the Word and good Christian literature. -Chantry La Belle, Pastor’s Wife, Presbyterian Church of Cape Cod 

Heaven is the goal. Nothing is worth missing it for.-Pastor Roger Williams

My agenda is the Kingdom of God. I’ve had that revelation of God since I was saved. I have to serve people with my whole heart; that’s Christlike, but it’s not easy. -Pastor Paul Campo

I work for God and not people.  I look to God and not to people for my reward. -Pastor James La Belle 

I remember who I am and Whose I am. -Donna, Pastor’s Wife

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, Colossians 3:23 (NKJV)

By not being co-dependent with the church. I don’t find my significance, my personal identity in the church. I am first and foremost Beloved of the Father. My next responsibility is to my family and then to the Church. I do my best, but the results are not a definition of my spiritual state. You have to keep them separate to keep from burn out.

If the church suddenly explodes in growth, that doesn’t make me an A+, and likewise if it doesn’t, that’s not a definition of my spiritual state. -Pastor Bruce Hanlon, Forrestdale Church, Sandwich, MA

Share some words of appreciation for your pastor and he will be listed on the Wall of Honor and entered to win a retreat at the Energize Lodge. http://energizeministries.com/latest-news/pastor-wall-of-honor/

Founded in 2010, Energize Ministries provides encouragement, refreshment, and recreational opportunities for pastors and ministry leaders and their families. Additionally, they spread awareness among churchgoers about the need to be intentional in supporting, encouraging and praying for their spiritual leaders.  Learn more about how to support and encourage your pastor at energizeministries.com

Text the word PASTOR to 74574 for daily/weekly reminders & tips to pray for your pastor.

Part 10: What God Said (In Honor of Pastor’s & Pastor’s Wives)

“And Rachael is going to write a poem for our Pastor’s Wives Appreciation Luncheon,” she announced to the women’s Bible study group as we dismissed.

“What?” I said. “Wait a minute, Sandy!” I said, as I chased her into the lobby. “You can’t just order a poem. It doesn’t work like that! Do you think this is like driving up to Dunkin Donuts and ordering a small light extra cream and sugar?!”

“Well, if you don’t want to do it, I can find someone else.” She said nonchalantly as she spun around and walked away.

“I didn’t say I didn’t want to do it. I can’t just make this happen!”  

“Hey!” I said,  as she pushed through the doors. “Pray for me!”  

I stood alone in the church. “God?” I said. “Help. Please? What do you want me to say?”

rachael_m_colby_tattoo_it-on_your_heart_for-the_pastors_wife

(Sarah’s daughter refers to the scripture: 1 Peter 3:6)

The night after I wrote For the Pastor’s Wife, I returned from church distressed. I threw myself onto a chair and said, “God, what about my pastor? What about the pastors, Lord? …Who is the pastor?” This was His answer:

rachael_m_colby_tattoo_it_on_your_heart_warrior

© 2016 Rachael M Colby

Part: 9 Question 31~ A Series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives from Around the World

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15 (NKJV)

What are some pros/ cons to Pastoring in the USA as opposed to overseas? 

I think that depends where you live. In Cuba the people worshiped God like I have never seen before. However despite cultural differences, in most places, people are exactly the same. -Stephanie Delcid, Missionary Wife, Potter’s House CFM, Ecuador 

Ecuador  ecuador   Cuba  cuba

Every country is so different! You do need to learn the way they do things. The mentality is different too. I believe our goal is not to come here and make them Americans; our goal is to introduce people to Jesus, for them to get saved, and of course, help if we can.

You do miss certain things, like some foods, your favorite cream, shopping online, sales. 🙂 But give it a month or two and you don’t think about that anymore; you readjust fast. – Vika Aaltonen, Missionary Wife, The Door, CFM, Helsinki, Finland.

Lithuania mozambique Finland finland

Pastoring in the U.S.

Advantages            

  1. You know the culture
  2. You have command of your native language and can share deeper spiritual concepts with the listener.
  3. You usually have a solid support system that you may not have overseas, ex. denomination, spiritual movement, etc.

Disadvantages

  1. A prophet is not welcome in his hometown, as with Jesus and Nazareth.
  2. The pressures of our modern day, post-Christian culture that is always offering compromises to the faith and puts pressure on ministering effectively.
  3.  The “marketplace” of churches allows those who lack commitment or who are avoiding responsibility in the community to shop around or move.

Pastoring Overseas

Advantages

  1. Having served in a restricted nation, you and your faith can be a novelty and a curiosity.
  2. God usually works in bringing people to you.
  3. People in the nation I was serving wanted to improve their English and learn more about the American culture. This opened the door to sharing the Good News.

Disadvantages

  1. Language barrier #1. It takes at least 2 years to become minimally functional in a language to share the gospel in an elementary way and many more years of regular exposure to be able to converse in a language where deeper spiritual issues can be discussed.
  2. Getting to know the collective mind of a people takes time and, in many cases, painful effort.
  3. You are at the mercy of the officials in restricted countries as to your length of stay, methods and modes of sharing without reprisal, and the like. -Pastor Sheldon Clarkson, Outer Cape Christian Church, Truro, MA       ***(Former missionary to a restricted country.)
I think language barriers overseas are a huge challenge but also as they impact worldview. The fallout from Babel goes on and on… Here at home it’s the overabundant materialism squashing out the Spirit’s voice calling us to something deeper and lasting. -Pastor Bruce Hanlon, Forrestdale Church, Sandwich MA (Former missionary to Kenya, Malawi and Austria)
 
Kenya kenya  Malawi malawi Austria austria
 
 
 

It is difficult to learn a new language, so, I would say that is a con. Also the climate can be difficult. -Chantry La Belle

Ministry in America is very hard. Our culture is so independent and affluent that people don’t see their need for a Savior. Thankfully, no culture is any match for the grace of God. God’s effectual calling is irresistible; those whom He comes to save, He saves, wonderfully and gloriously. Hence, the pastor’s calling is not to save souls, but to faithfully preach the the Scriptures, the primary means by which God opens blind eyes, changes hearts, and saves souls.   –Pastor James La Belle, author, Pastor, Presbyterian Church of Cape Cod (The La Belles are former Missionaries to Zimbabwe and Mozambique) 

Mozambique Mozambique.png          Zimbabwe Zimbabwe.png

trinidad

We dealt with a lot of witchcraft when we were missionaries to Trinidad. Here, the obstacle is the “all set” mentality. People are more prosperous and don’t always see their need for Christ. -Pastor Roger Williams,                      Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod, MA

The dangers of being a missionary keep you focused and praying. Whatever the dangers of being a missionary to Mexico, the greater danger is living in the United States of America and being distracted by lesser things.

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I’m not against fun, but the distraction of entertainment, feeling the need to upgrade to the next thing, the overrating and pursuit of education, and a nice job, has led some in America to leave out the God factor. The Church in America, sees the problems, analyzes the problems, but doesn’t do anything about them; there’s more time spent watching football and the 140 channels on TV. We have tried to keep a missionary focus, stay ministry minded while home in the US. That’s why we’ve shunned TV.          -Pastor Greg and Suzanne Winslow, Missionaries to Zihuatanjo, Mexico

Part 8: The Cost~ Shepherd-Princes and Sarah’s Daughters~ Interviews with Pastors and their Wives in Honor of Pastor Appreciation Month

What has being a pastor/ pastor’s wife cost you?

Myself. Everything. It is a calling, a life, not a job. -Pastor James La Belle, author, Pastor, Presbyterian Church, Cape Cod, MA

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15 NKJV

But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:5 NASB 

Everything you are. -Pastor Paul Campo, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod, MA

I don’t know if I view it in terms of cost, because as a Christian I would be doing a lot of the same things. I enjoyed what I did as a living before, but it wasn’t hard for me to leave it. The ministry has dictated where I live, but I want to be where God wants me to be. It’s a comfort.  All in all I am very content, blessed, pleased to be doing what I am. I don’t count it a burden. -Pastor Chip Ganiear, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod, MA

Everything. To do the will of God is going to cross your will at times. Living where I don’t want to, being in places I’d rather not. God needs to be our one thing. People think they can do what they want, have it all and be a Christian. I don’t want to get to Heaven and have a little shack because I was so selfish here.What happened to, “What does God want me to do?” I don’t see anyone who has been faithful and is sorry. My husband and I are crazy enough to believe laying up treasure in Heaven is worth anything we sacrifice here. -Lori Ganiear, Victory Chapel CFM, Cape Cod MA

Time, most of all, along with some personal liberties. It’s not a 9 to 5 job, it’s a 24/7/365 commitment. My personal point of view is if a person is going to take on the responsibility of being a shepherd to the flock of God they must be willing and prepared to sacrifice almost anything. It’s not something to be taken lightly. It’s a great honor as well as a huge responsibility. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

Time with my family. Interrupted plans or vacations. Like when we made plans to attend an event as a family and were ready to leave and there’s a knock at the door and a lady from the church is at the door with tears streaming down her face. She didn’t know we had plans… -Anonymous

Everything…It has isolated me until recently when I actually started going to another church as well as ours.-Anonymous

I suppose, from an earthly point of view, it has cost me something. I walked away from a corporate management situation, which would have given me a six-figure income in order to pastor this church which does not cover my living expenses. It has cost my family much for they have had to endure the rigors of ministry along with me. I have been persecuted, faced death-threats, nearly killed in an auto accident, have gone grey before my time, many sleepless nights and anxious days. I’ve endured ridicule, rumors and scandals and a host of other challenges and difficulties that try to steal my confidence in Christ. And, as Paul said to the Corinthian church: “Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” -Rev. Michael Duncan, speaker, author and Pastor, Mountain View Baptist Church, Darrington, WA

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;  Matthew 6:20 NASB

What is the hardest part of being a pastor?

Not forgetting your dependence upon God; that you can’t do it in your own strength, you can do nothing without Him. -Pastor James La Belle

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 NKJV

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. I Corinthians 15:10 NKJV 

Balancing home, work and ministry.  -Pastor Wayne Schaffer, New Life, Altoona, PA

Dealing with stubborn, rebellious and ungrateful people. -Pastor Patrick Jordan, The Door CFM,  Jamaica, West Indies

Lack of appreciation; people can be so insensitive. You can’t talk to anyone without being asked a ministerial question. Living in a glass house. When you get shouted down. It’s even harder for the pastor’s wife, as she doesn’t have the release to be able to say something. -Pastor Paul Campo

Lonliness. -Anonymous

Getting insight into how people think of me that I really didn’t want to know, whereas if I wasn’t in this position I wouldn’t get that level of feedback. -Pastor Chip Ganiear

Trying to get people to understand the importance of taking the Word of God as seriously as they should. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

What has been the most unexpected hardship to pastoring?

Loneliness. Isolation. The toll it takes on our children. -Anonymous

Trying to be a source of strength and comfort for someone who has lost a loved one due to a tragic accident or suicide. Wanting to relieve their grief but knowing nothing I could say or do can accomplish that. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

I suppose the most unexpected hardship has been getting people to follow Jesus according to the Bible. When I first started preaching I assumed that most people attending church were actually seeking the Lord and hungry to know His word. That has not been my experience over these many years. -Rev. Michael Duncan

Still being a sinner. Being a pastor does not remove the need to wage the good fight and mortify my own sinful deeds and desires. Being a pastor does not remove your struggles; in some respects it increases them, since you become more of a target for Satan’s malice than you ever were before. –Pastor James La Belle

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 NASB

What is your biggest challenge pastoring?

Being patient with God’s people; wanting and expecting them to change on my time schedule; trusting the all-wise and all-good God to work according to His will and timing. -Pastor James La Belle

Preparing four sermons a week, especially when there are no trigger thoughts. Betrayals.  – Pastor Patrick Jordan

Loving and forgiving every offense, no matter what. Keeping the ministry in its place and keeping a balance. -Anonymous

I hate counseling!!! It is draining and it seems worthless most times. Counseling is emotionally draining, especially when people are unwilling to heed the advice they’re seeking. -Anonymous

It’s non-stop; you’re on call 24 hours a day. Sometimes there are seasons of problems. -Pastor Paul Campo

Myself as an individual, dealing with my own pride and ego. Maintaining a level of humility is a bigger challenge than I wish it to be. It’s one of those things the ministry has built-in relief valves for.

You are always under the microscope. -Pastor Chip Ganiear.

An interesting question… My biggest challenge has been moving the congregation away from a corporate mentality to a Biblical one. Many churches and church members see the fellowship in the same light that they look at a health club or affinity group like the Elks Lodge. So, they have built-in expectations that are not Biblical, but based upon worldly presumptions. They see the pastor as the CEO or as the program/facilities manager of a corporation and as such have based their approach to the church as if they’re attending a service organization. -Rev. Michael Duncan

Our public schools have become the church of  humanists who teach evolution, Darwinism, and many other things that oppose and refute what the Bible teaches.

Due to this, many of our younger people see the Bible as a book of myths, legends, and tales, or a religiously based guide that an older generation with outdated moral standards is trying to impose upon them.

Knowing the youth are the future of our nation and realizing we must make a concentrated effort to reach them makes this a challenge I personally view as desperate. -Pastor, Transformation Ministries

I can handle the challenge people, the difficult people, the extra grace people. Churches are like rowboats. You can have people in the boat not rowing; you do want to encourage them to row; but what you can’t have is people rowing in the opposite direction. -Pastor Bruce Hanlon, Forrestdale Church, Sandwich MA

*Text the word PASTOR to 74574 for daily/weekly reminders & tips to pray for your pastor.

**Share some words of appreciation for your pastor and he will be listed on the Wall of Honor and entered to win a retreat at the Energize Lodge. http://energizeministries.com/latest-news/pastor-wall-of-honor/

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