In their book, Encouragement for Today’s Pastors: Help from the Puritans, Joel R. Beeke and Terry D. Slachter enumerate eight pressures in pastoral ministry that can weaken our passion for ministry. We must not allow these pressures to stop us from serving our Lord Jesus Christ. As the author of Hebrews says, “Let us hold fast our profession” (Hebrews 4:14).
Here are the eight pressures:
- Some of us find ourselves in denominations where the standards of doctrine are being downgraded. We find ourselves in situations in which we must decide when and where to make a stand.
- Some of us face opposition, perhaps from peers within our own denomination or from members in the pew who want us to join them in abandoning the historic doctrines of Reformation Christianity or downplay the necessity to experience those doctrines in a personal and spiritual way.
- Some of us are confronted with a cult of man-made traditions or a demand for trendy innovations in church life and worship.
- Some of us labor in situations where little growth is evident, numerical or spiritual.
- Some of us are crippled by debilitating loneliness—perhaps having no congenial or like-minded colleagues in our locality.
- Some of us labor in the midst of strife and disunity within our own flocks. A minority of vocal members spreads foolish accusations and slanderous gossip that wound our fellow Christians.
- Some of us are discouraged because we feel the withdrawing of the presence of God in our soul’s consciousness for no apparent reason.
- Some of us are discouraged on account of our own weak spiritual condition.