With the rising numbers of church leaders who are thinking about quitting due to various reasons, a minister shared ways on how pastors can continue in their race of leading the Church.
"Caring for a congregation is stressful enough without today's new 'wars' in the church, whether it's the war over worship styles, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, women in ministry, COVID-19 protocols, politics or racism," J. Lee Grady wrote on Charisma Magazine.
According to the survey conducted by Barna Group last October, 38% of Protestant pastors were considering of quitting from full-time ministry, a 9% increase from the organization's findings in January 2021.
Barna Group President David Kinnaman disclosed that even before COVID hit the world last year, the firm already saw some signs of burnout among pastors as early as 2017, based on its study.
Grady revealed that one of the pastors he spoke with recently shared about being criticized for simply wanting to make changes in the congregation in an attempt to reach more people.
But the minister advised him to never think about giving up.
Grady said that pastors should not allow criticism to steal their joy or stop them from fulfilling their mission. To fight this attack, the minister shared four "biblical steps":
First is to "reenlist for the war." Citing a statement from Winston Churchill, the minister pointed out that opposition is typical for people in the front lines, and thus, pastors must accept this reality and "move forward".
"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life," Churchill reportedly said. Politifact, however, clarified that the line was originally uttered by Victor Hugo.
"This is what we signed up for, but some of us need to renew our commitment to embrace the battle," the minister stressed.
Next, to never allow their critics get in their head.
The minister lamented how Christians are sometimes being used by the enemy to break other Christians apart through their words, spread gossip, invent lies and entertain suspicions. Though Grady said that pastors should be open about correction, they must learn to ignore the "irrelevant noise" from individuals who just want to destroy the work of God instead of building them up.
He added that church leaders must never submit "to the psychological warfare of demonic criticism," as exemplified by the men of the Bible, such as David on Goliath, Nehemiah on Sanballat and Jesus on the Pharisees.
Third, to "find fellow warriors." The minister emphasized that the battle being faced by pastors should never be fought alone. Hence, they must find their "comrades" as David did when he recruited mighty warriors who are loyal to him in 2 Samuel 23.
"If you want to be a successful leader, you need 'foxhole buddies' who are willing to pray with you, carry your burdens and keep you encouraged," Grady continued.
Finally, to frequently seek God through prayers. Like David who found his strength in God in times of discouragement as he declared in Psalm 55:16, the minister urged the pastors to also take their refuge in the presence of the LORD.
"Don't let Satan's constant assaults weaken you. Pray hard, and then pray harder. Pray until you hear a refreshing word from God that will override the lies of the enemy. When the breakthrough comes, the joy of the Lord will spring up from the wells of salvation. The heavy darkness of discouragement will dissipate. You will resist the devil and he will flee from you," Grady concluded.
Aside from being a minister, Grady is also a journalist and an author. His books include "The Holy Spirit Is Not For Sale," "10 Lies the Church Tells Women," "10 Lies Men Believe," "Fearless Daughters of the Bible," "The Truth Sets Women Free" and "Set My Heart on Fire."