We recently celebrated Resurrection Sunday, a day filled with hope and anticipation. That’s not to say, though, that everyone leading a church that day was living in hope. In fact, many church leaders need hope. Here are some reasons why:
1. We don’t really let the power of the resurrection affect every part of our lives. We’ve made Resurrection Sunday a once-a-year event, and we only talk about resurrection the rest of the year.
2. We don’t know many people who are just filled with hope. Too many people we know are struggling with hopelessness themselves—and we get caught up in that wave.
3. We’ve just come through some tough years that have drained us. Many churches I know are back to pre-COVID attendance, but the last few years have taken their toll on many church leaders.
4. The weight of Christian ministry can be heavy and overwhelming. Our work can be painful. . . lonely. Just the weightiness of our calling can sometimes weaken our spirits.
5. Our present-tense responsibilities overshadow any future-tense hope. Today’s work is never-ending, and tomorrow is yet to come. Sometimes we’re just trying to get through the day—and hope is somewhere in the distance.
6. Ongoing personal sin has turned our heart toward self—and thus away from the God of hope. Our own lack of faithfulness to God always drains our hope. That is inevitably the case, for unfaithfulness robs us of God’s blessings in general.
7. Trying to lead a church toward growth is often plodding, slow work. We’re often trying to turn a ship around that has been only floating for some time. Change doesn’t happen easily.
This hopelessness among church leaders is one reason why we at Church Answers will be introducing in June The Hope Initiative, a simple, reproducible, 30-day outreach strategy that helps turn a church outward and renew a leader’s hope. Our beta testing has already shown this strategy to be effective, and I encourage you to check it out here.
Posted on April 11, 2023
Dr. Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with Church Answers to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.
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