All tagged Holy Spirit
I was frustrated - which in and of itself is not an abnormal experience for me, unfortunately. I was in the midst of one of the few short walks I take each day, trudging around the neighborhood next to my office, wrestling through one of the many leadership issues every pastor faces on a regular basis. In this particular situation I had tried everything I could think of. I did not know what to do. I was tired of trying to figure it out.It was into this ever-growing frustration that the Holy Spirit spoke a simple question that stopped me in my tracks.
I've always been oddly interested in the process various pastors use in preparing to preach. Not just the textual work and crafting of the sermon, but specifically their day of preparation. Personally, I've seen over and over how the quality of my preparation directly impacts the quality of my proclamation. My Sunday morning schedule has changed with our facilities, service times, and other factors, but here's my current Sunday morning process for preparing to preach.
I recently met with a young seminary student hoping to plant a church and he asked me what I thought the biggest challenges in church planting had been. I rattled off a few things that came to mind, but after giving it more thought I landed on the five most difficult challenges I've faced over these past three years.
Four years ago I instituted a semi-regular retreat day into my schedule for the purpose of prayer, fasting, and personal planning. Few things have grown and blessed my soul, my family, and my ministry like regularly withdrawing to engage with Jesus in this way. This practice started for me when I heard another pastor at a conference mention that he took a regular retreat day as one of his spiritual rhythms, so I decided to give it a shot. It was uncomfortable early on, as I didn't really know what I was doing and didn't have any real plan. Some of my retreat days were fruitful and some of them were, quite frankly, awful.
It had been a frustrating few months. I'd started a new position as a worship pastor at an existing church and thus inherited a group of 15 musicians with little talent and lots of attitude (a wonderful combination - is my sarcasm coming through clearly enough?).
One guy in particular was especially difficult. It was discouraging to lead him and he was demanding in his desire to have things “his way.” After one of many phone calls spent trying to get him heading in a healthy direction, I was particularly frustrated and brought this frustration to God in prayer. It went something like this...