Encouragement For Pastors

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Are you a pastor who is feeling discouraged? Or do you know a pastor who has become frustrated by what isn’t happening in their church? If so, please read on because I have something special for you. 

When I was interviewed on the 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady, I tried to speak an encouraging word to my fellow pastors, especially those who were discouraged to the point of wanting to throw in the towel. If that’s you, I hope that you will take two minutes to listen to this short clip (click the audio link above). 

I’ve never seen the actual research, but I’ve heard the story enough to believe that it’s probably true that more pastors write their letters of resignation on Monday morning than on any other day.

That’s understandable. 

All week, pastors prepare to deliver a message on Sunday, and then they pour out their hearts as they minister to those who have come to church. But when they look around for those who didn’t come to church, or when they see only apathy in those who did come to church, or (perhaps worst of all) when all they hear are complaints, it’s understandable how frustration and discouragement can creep in and even overwhelm. 

So back in their office on Monday morning, facing the prospect of another week that seems to be shaping up to feel unsuccessful again, many pastors choose to resign. 

My heart goes out to these pastors. In fact, I had these very pastors in mind as I wrote my book Shepherd Leadership. 

As we are at the start of a new year, I would like to make a special offer for pastors. For just $12 I will send you an autographed copy of my book and a download link to get the audiobook of Shepherd Leadership free of charge. 

All you need to do is complete this form and I’ll have the materials right out to you. I’m praying for you, my friend, that you will allow God to use the message in this book to encourage you to persevere and thrive despite the challenges you are facing. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Podcast: Motivated Leadership

Listen to the audio-only version of this podcast by clicking on the player below, or scroll down to watch the video.

On this episode of “The Craig And Greg Show” we talk about: 

  • [0:48] What does the dictionary say about motivation? What do we say about motivation? 
  • [2:03] Motivation comes in “different packages”
  • [3:48] How can we individualize motivation?
  • [5:53] How does coachability mesh with motivation?
  • [7:20] Is 100% self-motivation possible?
  • [7:49] Greg’s story about a leader’s frustration with unmotivated people 
  • [9:44] Does yelling ever motivate people?
  • [12:52] A teammate’s love language can give you insight into how to motivate them.
  • [13:56] How do leaders “call out” what’s in our team members?
  • [16:01] A leader’s self-assessment is key to how well we motivate others.
  • [18:23] Are company-wide benefits demotivating? How can we switch this up?
  • [20:30] Does the carrot-or-stick method of motivation actually work?
  • [21:10] Greg shares a quote about how dreams can help motivation.
  • [22:51] Great leaders don’t assume, but they ask important questions.
  • [23:53] Our coaching huddles can help you individualize your leadership motivational skills and practices.

Check out this episode and subscribe on YouTube so you can watch all of the upcoming episodes. You can also listen to our podcast on Spotify and Apple.

Amen Indeed

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the Ailbe Podcast with Rusty Rabon. 

The reason I wrote Shepherd Leadership is because my heart was aching for my fellow pastors who were feeling frustrated maybe even to the point of contemplating resigning their churches. The principles I teach in this book are ones that will get all of us back to a biblical standard of what God says is successful in our ministries. 

Toward that end, I love praying for pastors. Every week I send a Sunday morning prayer to my fellow pastors in my hometown to encourage them to find satisfaction in serving the sheep the Chief Shepherd has placed under their care. 

As we wrapped up our time together, Rusty referred to a prayer I shared in my chapter entitled ‘Stick-to-it-iveness.’ This prayer is adapted from Psalm 23 and is intended to be a source of strength for pastors. 

Take a listen…

I hope this prayer is helpful and energizing to you. I also hope that you will pick up a copy of Shepherd Leadership to infuse some more encouragement into your ministry efforts.  

If you would like to check out the other clips I have already shared from this podcast, please check them out here. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Practical Health Questions

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff wanted to know if I had a favorite chapter in my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. That’s an easy question to answer because it is the chapter I didn’t write—the Preface of the book was written by Dick Brogden and sums up my book better than I could have on my own. 

But there is a chunk of five chapters in Shepherd Leadership that I keep going back to quite frequently. This section is also one that has resonated with other leaders who coach and counsel pastors. 

Dr. Luke summarized the wholly healthy development of Jesus in just one verse: And Jesus grew in wisdom, in stature, in favor with God, and in favor with men (Luke 2:52). I think this gives us the perfect pyramid for our healthy growth—

  • It starts with our mental health (wisdom) 
  • Which helps us make good decisions for our physical health (stature)
  • Which creates an ideal environment for our spiritual health to flourish (favor with God)
  • Which is ultimately realized in our relational health (favor with men) 

This is why, when I am coaching other pastors that are struggling with relationships with their board or parishioners, I start with…

Oftentimes the answers to these questions reveal a deficit in mental, physical, or spiritual health that is preventing a breakthrough in strong, healthy relationships. As soon as health is being restored at the lower levels of this pyramid, positive changes in spiritual and relational health begin to blossom as well. 

Pastor, please pick up a copy of my book to help you get into the healthiest place you can be. You cannot give health to the flock under your care if you are not at optimal health yourself. 

If you want to catch up on some of the other clips I’ve already shared from this interview, you can find them here. I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple.

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

My Unique History

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

I had a great time on the 200churches podcast with Jeff Keady. 

Jeff and I talked about my unique background and how that contributed to not only the book I wrote but also to the activities in which I am presently involved.

God took me on a long journey before I came to be a shepherd in Cedar Springs, MI. There were times in my younger life when I questioned why my path didn’t look like a straight line that was heading toward a career or vocation, but God showed me the truthfulness of the promise in Romans 8:28—He is using ALL THINGS to accomplish what He needs for me and for His Kingdom. (Check out the short video below where I share a bit of my autobiography.)

I hope this is a word of encouragement for you too. God IS directing every single one of your steps, He IS using all of your education and experiences to accomplish His purpose. Don’t bail out of this process, and don’t ever get discouraged that your path seems different than those around you. God is being as unique with you as He is with everyone else. 

If you are a church leader, I encourage you to pick up a copy of my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter. I believe you will find many more encouraging thoughts that will keep you engaged in the work to which God has called you.

I’ll be sharing more clips from this 200churches interview soon, so please stay tuned. Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter is available in print or ebook, and in audiobook through either Audible or Apple. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Selah

The word Selah appears nearly 70 times in the Bible, almost exclusively in the Psalms. Although it is primarily a musical term, it applies beautifully to our summer series. 

Selah can mean…

  • a pause from the noise to reflect;
  • a preparation for an exciting accent; or 
  • a reflective time of consideration

Throughout the Psalms, Selah appears at the end of a verse, at the end of the psalm, or sometimes even mid-sentence. But each one of them is perfectly placed by the Spirit-inspired authors to get us to take a breath and deeply contemplate what we just read or sang. 

Summertime is typically a time for us to pause from our regular routine. Perhaps it’s a vacation, time with friends and family, driving around with the windows down and the music blasting, or just a quiet walk through woods or along a beach. In any case, whether we realize it or not, we’re actually doing Selah in these break-from-the-routine activities. 

Join me this Sunday as we continue our summertime look at each of the Psalms that ask us to Selah. I think you will find that this Sunday summertime pause will be both refreshing and encouraging. You can join me either in person or on Facebook or YouTube.

Since this is a continuation of our summer series, you can check out the Selahs we discussed by clicking here for the 2018 messages, here for the 2019 messages, here for the 2020 messages, and here for the 2021 messages.

The messages this summer include:

Poetry Saturday—If None

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

If none were sick and none were sad,
   What service could we render?
I think if we were always glad
   We scarcely could be tender.
Did our beloved never need
   Our patient ministration,
Earth would grow cold and miss indeed
   Its sweetest consolation.
If sorrow never claimed our heart,
   And every wish were granted,
Patience would die and hope depart—
   Life would be disenchanted. —Anonymous

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

A Safe Place For Mistakes

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Josh had just graduated from high school when I came to pastor in Cedar Springs. As I sat with this outstanding young man I asked him what he wanted to do next. 

“I’m not exactly sure,” he told me, “but I really feel like it’s something involved with ministry.” 

“Great!” I responded. “Let’s start experimenting.” 

I told Josh that our church was going to be a safe place to experiment: to plan new things, to try new things, to prayerfully evaluate the results, and then to use those results to plan new things. Josh jumped in right away, and over a short period of time we were eventually able to ascertain just how God had wired Josh for his niche of ministry. 

But this would have never happened without some missteps along the way. 

That’s okay. 

Leaders need to create an environment where it’s safe to make mistakes, because mistakes are a vital component of learning. 

My wife is a 3rd Grade teacher. A bulletin board in her classroom lovingly tells her students, “Our classroom is a safe place to make mistakes,” and then she gives them the keys to their successful learning. 

Leaders can help those around them grow through their mistakes by constantly reinforcing these six principles: 

  1. When someone complains, “This is too hard,” remind them, “This may take some time and effort.” 
  2. When someone says, “I’m not good at this,” prompt them to ask, “What am I missing?” and then encourage them to add, “I’m not good at this yet.” 
  3. When someone wants to settle with, “It’s good enough,” challenge them to ask themselves, “Have I given this my best effort?” 
  4. When someone wants to throw in the towel by saying, “I made a mistake,” remind them, “I failed is not the same thing as I am a failure,” and then remind them, “Mistakes help me learn.” 
  5. When someone is exasperated and says, “I give up,” come alongside them with, “Let’s try a strategy we’ve already learned.” 
  6. When someone says, “I can’t do this,” you need to lovingly encourage them with, “You can do this!” 

These responses will help foster an abundance-mindset environment where people aren’t defeated by their mistakes, but they’re energized to reengage and try again. As the brilliant inventor Thomas Edison quipped, “I’ve had a lot of success with failure.” 

Leaders, let’s make our spaces the safest places for the mistakes that lead to discovery, growth, and success. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

Going Farther

I wrote Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter to encourage pastors who are tired and struggling with feelings of failure. One of the most powerful sources of encouragement is more leaders surrounding a tired pastor. 

I have a chapter dedicated to this called “Going Farther.” Here’s a short excerpt—

You will not only extend your leadership by having other servant-hearted shepherds around you, but you will also have a guard against the aloneness that led to such ugly warts on the biography of otherwise powerful leaders such as David, Elijah, and Peter. 

Jesus told us to pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send out more workers into the field (Luke 10:2). In a similar attitude, I believe we can pray to the Chief Shepherd to send out more under-shepherds into the pastures; specifically, we can pray for those under-shepherds to be sent into the pasture where we labor. The early church showed us the example of prayer being the priority when new shepherds were needed (Acts 1:21-26, 6:3-6, 13:1-3; 2 Timothy 1:3-6). We would do well to make it a priority to pray for God to send us godly leaders that can serve alongside us. 

If you are a pastor, please pick up a copy of this book, as I truly believe it will encourage you. If you love your pastor, please give him or her a copy as a gift. I promise you that this book will bring such a fresh perspective to their ministry. 

And whether you are a pastor or a lay leader in your church, please continue to pray for God to send more laborers into your harvest field.

You can get more information on my book at ShepherdLeadershipBook.com. 

When Jesus Talked With Just One Person

When Faith Frodsham was teaching at the Peniel Bible Institute, she wrote home to tell her father Stanley about her frustration over the small size of her class. She wondered if she was really being successful with such a small class. 

Stanley Frodsham wrote back:

“We received your good letter yesterday. Don’t get discouraged by the small size of the school. The Lord spent much time ministering to the ones. Read the third of John and see His ministry to one soul. Then in the fourth chapter His ministry to another. Then how wonderful it was when He had just an audience of one, Mary, who sat at His feet. With six students you have six times the audience He had.” 

Success is not about big numbers, but about quality time invested faithfully and for God’s glory. 

I wrote my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter to address this misconception which discourages so many pastors and other ministry leaders. If you are involved in ministry, I truly believe this book will give you a new encouraging perspective. 

Get more information at http://ShepherdLeadershipBook.com

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