How does a pastor press on in a difficult church?

I see more and more young pastors take their first church, approach years 2-3, and begin to question whether they should be where they are.  The pressures, criticisms, and discouragements overwhelm them and they forget the reason they felt called to go to that church in the first place.  How does a pastor persist in a difficult church situation when it is easy to forget why they are there?  Allow the legendary Scottish pastor, William Still, who pastored the same congregation for over 50 years, be our credible counselor on this matter:

This charge is not a mere stepping-stone to a better appointment.  God has caused you to become pastor to some souls here who are as valuable to Him as any in the world.  Your quiet persistence will be a sign that you believe God has a purpose of grace for this people, and that this purpose of grace will be promoted, not by gimicks, or stunts, or new ideas, but by the Word of God released in preaching by prayer.

If you are a pastor struggling in your church, guard yourself from concluding your difficulties are a sign you are in the wrong place.  Hear the wisdom of William Still who modeled that quiet persistence for over 50 years and remember the reason you originally went to the place you find yourself.  Dear brother and fellow pastor, press on.  Preach and pray.  God’s purpose for you in sending you to that church has not changed now that you face some adversity.


Posted in Oversight of Souls, The Pastor's Soul
5 comments on “How does a pastor press on in a difficult church?
  1. Great advice; I really needed this reminder. Thank you. What book is this quote from?

  2. Tim B says:

    Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 16:8 “But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 for wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”

    While these adversaries were probably not from inside the church, we cannot say for sure. However, what I always interesting is that the Paul felt both the open door and the adversaries. The presence of the latter did not deter Paul from his confidence that God had opened the door for him to be there.

    This, I think, goes to your point: “If you are a pastor struggling in your church, guard yourself from concluding your difficulties are a sign you are in the wrong place.” Far too often we interpret struggles as a sign that God is closing the door.

  3. I think Moses had the hardest “church” to pastor. He shepherded them for forty years as they wandered and complained and rebelled – until the day of his death. A wise mentor once told me about Moses like this:

    “When Moses was ready to lead the people into the promised land, they rejected God’s plan and turned away from the promise. Despite their rebellion, Moses continued to lead them until they were again ready to step into God’s purpose.”

    So often I’ve wanted to walk away, but God continues to remind me of Moses and tells me that I must be willing to lead His people – even through the wilderness – so that they are prepared for His purpose.

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