Over the past year, God has taught me many valuable lessons. He has brought me, my family, and our church through many tests. I wish I could say we passed all our tests, but we didn’t. Much of the failure was due to my learning to become a leader. One thing I can say is that through it all, God has been gracious and has used such life lessons to teach us more about Himself and how He works in our lives. As we take a look at the lessons we’ve learned, I trust and pray that God may use this in your life as you seek to serve God and be used for His glory.
Lessons Learned In The Ministry Of 2012
God is always in control
Many of you may not know, but our church is in the middle of a building project. I can honestly say that I would not wish a building project upon my worst enemy. We have had a building permit for 2 years, and we are 75% complete. You might think we are building a HUGE building…well, all we’re doing is remodeling a little 70ft x 40ft building.
Looking back, I would have done things different. I would have built from ground up. A remodel is harder than many things in the ministry. What did I learn in this process?
- Keep a good testimony with your city officials; this has helped as we now need them to work with us on coding issues
- When remodeling a building, if it was not made for a church, then your church will need to bring everything up to code
- Get things done before Thanksgiving, because the project risks being held up until the beginning of the new year
- Make sure to get a special use/conditional use permit
As mentioned, we are still involved in this remodel, and the hold up has been because of weather. In all this, I felt discouraged as if I was not able to lead our church. I wanted to quit and bring someone else in that was more competent and capable of handling such a project. Here is the thing, God called me, and no one else. Sure, I could have taken the cowards way out and quit, but I decided that I was going to conquer this building, with strength from God.
I have spent many nights up, praying and seeking God for direction. In all of this, I have found that no matter what happens, God has a plan. Before we got in to this building project, a preacher told me:
“God is going to build you more than He is going to build a building.”
Looking back, God has built me as a preacher, leader, father, and husband. I can’t explain it all, but there is a peace in my heart. I know that God has a plan and He is working it out in my life and in the hearts of our church members.
A preachers’ family needs God in the home too
I have been married 6 years now because of God giving me a great wife and two wonderful children. I have not always been the greatest husband and father. I am thankful I have a wife that is committed to God and our family. As a father and husband I failed my family for 6 years by not spending time with my family in the Word of God. I always knew that I needed to lead our family in worship and devotion to God, but I failed, and here is why:
- I thought it was more complicated than it really was
- I thought my personal time in the Word and prayer would make up for it
- I kept myself busy in what I do as a husband, father, and pastor
Looking back, those were just excuses for not doing family devotions. Maybe you are a husband that needs to start family devotions. Let me remind you that YOU ARE TO BE THE SPIRITUAL LEADER IN YOUR HOME.
God convicted me in my lack of serving my family. I would travel and preach, making God big in the lives of the hearers, but God was not big in my own family. I fought it until one day God made me realize it really wasn’t that hard to lead my family in worship and devotions. What happened? Well, I had just preached in a church and the pastor had an extra room in his home for preachers and families like mine. We spent the night, and in the morning when I went to get breakfast, they were getting ready to start their family devotions. Being there, (my wife and children were still sleeping), I participated. There was nothing “special” that he did. Really, it was easy, and God showed me that I too can bring God into my home.
How we conduct family devotions:
- We gather at the kitchen table as an entire family
- I read one chapter from the Bible;
Our children are 5 & 3, so we stick with Scriptures that have stories
- We each take turns praying from youngest to oldest;
At first, we would help our children pray. They would repeat after us for their prayer. Now, both of them pray on their own. It’s amazing to hear you children pray about their needs and wants in life. I love to hear them remember to pray for needs that we may have forgotten. And yes, God hears them pray too!
- We choose two songs and sing them;
Normally, we sing children Bible songs or simple choruses. As they get older, we will introduce hymns sung in church
- We tell the kids how much we love them and how proud we are of them, and then we get on with our daily duties
God has become more real to our family since we started prayer time. God has answered specific prayers that we prayed for during this time. It seems like starting off the day with God also leads to a more peaceful home life. I would encourage every Christian husband and father to make such a prayer time a priority in your home immediately.
We can trust God no matter how bad things may seem
As mentioned above, we have had a hard time with our building project. This is just one of the many burdens I bear as a pastor. That also does not include family needs. Overall, I have spent many days and nights with situations that were huge and hard to bear. Being a man, my natural reaction was to try to fix the problems myself. You know what happened? Things got worse when I handled things in my own power!
When I finally came to God with my burden, repented of my self will, and asked Him to help; He did! In all this, I learned that when I am caught up in the situation, it seems bigger than it really is. I also learned that no matter how big my problem may be, it is not bigger than God. As I sought God, and trusted Him, He always worked out the details and came through Victorious That’s the kind of God I have, a living all knowing and all powerful God.
How God taught me to trust Him in a deeper way:
- Make time to cry and truly pray to God. There is a sense of relief when a person just lets themselves weep and shed many tears. As we do this before God and pray, it brings a sense of relief.
- Read the Psalms. The Psalms are recorded prayers that God chose to inspire and preserve. Therefore, we can learn to pray from the examples found in the Psalms. It also helps us to realize that others still face the same problems and that God is concerned for His children.
- Learn to fast. I won’t make much of a point about it here. Listen to this podcast on Biblical Fasting.
- Go to church asking God to speak to your heart. This may be hard for preachers, since we are feeding our flock. Therefore, we should make sure to have a true message from God that has fed us, so we can feed our churches. Learn more about preaching and hearing from God here.
I hope these lessons can help you as you walk with God this new year. Please leave a comment or share this page with the buttons below. Thanks and God bless!