Church Planter and Author David Ferguson, in his recent article in the Awaken America Alliance News, shared these helpful observations.
Consider the apostle Paul's words of transparency in 2 Corinthians 7:5-7 concerning Gospel ministry, and his servant's need for comfort and encouragement:
For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we
were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears.
Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming
of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which
he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your
mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.
The reality is that serving as a pastor of a local church can be a dangerous calling.
Ferguson goes on to state, "serving as a pastor of a local church can be a dangerous calling." Quoting from Dr. Paul David Tripp's book, Dangerous Calling, Ferguson points out the challenges that pastors face. According to a survey conducted in 2011 by LifeWay Research of 1,000 American Protestant pastors:
A full 98 percent agree with the statement, I feel privileged to be a pastor.
More than half (55 percent) also agree with the statement, I find it is easy to get discouraged."
55 percent say being in pastoral ministry makes them feel lonely at times.
The Oregon Ministry Network continues to work hard in addressing what Ferguson calls, the Downstream Problem of pastoral loneliness, discouragement, and challenges. Under the direction of Larry Stellar and more than 30 trained Pastoral Care Team members, the Network is attempting to address these challenges with encouragement, affirmation, counsel, and prayer support. We will continue to intentionally provide the Upstream Strategy of joining God in His love and affirmation of pastors.
Ferguson asks, How did God comfort the downcast? The God of the universe, full of power and strength, chose to use another available vessel to extend His comfort to a weary spiritual leader, Paul!
One of the wins of our Network partnership is the assurance we are not alone.