Peter Drucker, one of the better known authors on leadership, has said that the four most difficult jobs in America are: President of the United States, the university president, the hospital administrator and the local church pastor. Many of you receiving this letter are in the fourth category. You are a pastor or Christian worker whether serving in the United States or overseas.
He often addressed the wide variety of troubles that often accompany Christian workers. The major theme in Second Corinthians is trouble of any kind. He speaks from his own experience in ministry. For example, in chapter one he mentions trouble, suffering, and hardship. In chapter two he identifies grief, distress and anguish. In chapter four he says he was hard-pressed, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (4:8-9).
More specifically, he cataloged many of his pressures in chapter 11 which include the following: imprisonment, severe flogging, the threat of death, beatings, stoning, shipwreck, danger in the rivers, danger from bandits, danger from his own countrymen, danger from false brothers, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, and nakedness. After cataloging these pressures (11:23-27), he added another heaviness that was always with him. He finishes his list of pressures with this . . . Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. To those of us who have pastored churches, we can readily identify with Paul as we think of the work of pastoring. Only a pastor can begin to understand what he is talking about here. Tough? Yes. Really tough? Sometimes, yes. But worth it? Yes. If I would start ministry all over again, would I choose the pastorate? Yes, definitely so.
Peter Drucker identified the pastorate as a difficult vocation. The apostle Paul affirms it. My own experience confirms it to be true.
It was twenty-five years ago that Evie and I co-founded Barnabas International. We had already traveled and ministered in many countries around the world. We had observed Christian workers who were heavily weighed down in their ministry assignments. Many of them faced the pressures mentioned above. Often these pressures were magnified and intensified with these realities: language barriers, oppressive heat, loneliness, and relational discomfort with those they came to serve.
For these reasons we created the ministry of Barnabas International. It is a ministry of listening and loving. It is also a ministry of encouragement. In the Bible, encouragement comes from one of three sources . . .
The encouragement of the Scriptures as stated in Romans 15:4 . . . the encouragement of the Scriptures.
The encouragement from the Lord . . . God encourages (Romans 15 5).
Encouragement from person to person. Every Christian is called to this ministry of encouragement (Hebrews 3:13, 10:25).
Jesus told His disciples that . . . in this world you will have trouble . . . and in the same verse He says that He will give us His PEACE. He goes on to add this . . . I have overcome the world . . . and because He has, He promises that we, too, can live and serve triumphantly.
Founder, Senior Associate
Receive an email when a new letter is posted.