20 Encouragements for Struggling Church Leaders

O ministry, where is your sting? Ouch. Right there! And there!

20 Encouragements for Struggling Church Leaders

I don’t know what struggle you are facing right now. I’m not sure what your context is. I don’t know how frustrating or how encouraging your elders or board members are. I’m not sure how supportive your family is of the work you do.

But I do know what you know: ministry can be an enormous blessing and it can be an enormous source of pain and heartache.

People you thought were in it for the long haul have left. Leaders you thought were solid and God-honoring have turned on you and the church. Families have opted to invest their Sunday mornings on the soccer field during their kids’ most faith-formative years. You’ve counseled married couples through their problems only to see their family be torn apart by divorce.

You and your leaders have helped families in financial need only to see them leave a couple weeks later because of their own pride and shame. You’ve preached with everything you’ve got and more only to be criticized a few hours later through an email, or worse – an anonymous note sitting on your office desk.

But what you do is worth it. In spite of all the heartache, in spite of all the pain, you are being used by God and I pray that what follows encourages you to keep stepping forward.

20 Encouragements for Struggling Church Leaders

  1. God used your last sermon or teaching lesson to impact someone’s life no matter how you think it went.
  2. Many people don’t tell you this, but they are thankful for your sacrifice and your dedication.
  3. The storm you’re in isn’t in the forecast forever. It will pass, the sun will come out, and things will turn around.
  4. God has called you to be faithful, not “successful.” Don’t let your worth be tied to whatever level of success you think you do or don’t have. Give ministry your all, but let God handle the results.
  5. For every loudmouth critic, there are exponentially more people who support you and trust you.
  6. Conflict is the passageway to relational breakthrough. You can navigate conflict – be quick to listen and slow to anger. Lead with mercy. And in no time, you’ll have an advocate rather than a perceived enemy.
  7. God isn’t done with you yet. He’s just getting started. Keep growing. Keep learning. Plod ahead.
  8. The impact your ministry is going to have and has had a positive ripple effect on entire families.
  9. Your small gestures of kindness have been used by God to literally save people from giving up.
  10. With every week you have served your congregation, you have made another deposit in the “trust account.” Keep showing up. Don’t give up.
  11. The person who is insulting you is likely dealing with a hurt that isn’t at all about you.
  12. “[You] are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that [you] would walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10 [modified] Your good ideas aren’t even your ideas. They were the Lord’s. So just walk in them and give Him the credit and the glory!
  13. For every challenge, there is an opportunity. See the latter as the way forward.
  14. More people are praying for you than you realize.
  15. God is with you. The Almighty infinite God is with you. Yes. You. He will never leave you or forsake you.
  16. You have room to grow in every area of your life. You can become a better leader. You can become a better communicator. You’re not at your ceiling.
  17. If you’re willing to let go, God will turn your past and present brokenness into a future ministry opportunity.
  18. If you’re struggling, try this: send a text of gratitude to three people in your church. Sometimes all we need is to get the focus off ourselves and onto being a blessing to someone else.
  19. Future church leaders will point to you as a key influence in their lives.
  20. You are a child of God. Your heavenly Dad loves you.

Encourage Another Church Leader

If this encouraged you, bless another church leader by sending it their way.

Grow as a Preacher and Leader

Want to grow as a preacher and leader? We’ll help you do it. Just subscribe to the blog. And to get you started and as a way of saying thank you, we’ll include 6 free resources: Building a Leadership Pipeline Packet, Pre-Formatted Sermon Notes Template, Sermon Evaluation Worksheet, 56 Weeks of Preaching TopicsSermon Series Planning Evernote Template, and the Weekly Productivity Evernote Template. All this for free when you subscribe.

Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Senior Pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.