When I first came to Christ, it didn’t take me long before I knew He was calling me to be a pastor. I took what I knew about the Gospel and mixed it with the intense passion I had for it and soon began speaking at D-Nows and little church events around Louisiana. Have you ever heard of the term “ignorance on fire?” Well that was me. All I knew is that Jesus had saved me and I wanted to tell everyone I could about Him.

But I brought over into the church world the only world I had known up to that point. I’d pull up like I would pull up to the clubs: dressed in all black, driving my 2003 black on black Cadillac CTS with 20-inch chrome Caetano rims blaring DJ Maj, Cross Movement, and KJ-52.

I’ll never forget that one local pastor in a small church in Mississippi got up and told me, “Robby, we’ve enjoyed having you, but you’ll never pastor a Baptist church with a Cadillac like that!”

We all know those pastors who seem to have a permanent frown on their face. According to a recent study, 70% of pastors do not have a close friend in their church ministry. Every single day, we have more people burning out and leaving the ministry, never to return again.

The question becomes, “Can we make an impact for the Kingdom and still enjoy the journey?”

Enjoy the Journey

When I first came to Long Hollow, I asked the staff, “What good is it to take the mountain for God and hate the journey getting there?”

From there, I did two things:

  1. I set the tone of what was expected of them by giving them my personal vision and mission of expectations for them. I laid it all out up front: “We’re going to be a disciple making church—which involves both evangelism and discipleship.”
  2. I declared a “Year of the Staff.” That means that for the first year of me going to a church that was larger than any church I’d pastored before, my focus was on investing in, rallying, and encouraging the people who would be doing ministry with me. To this day, these staff members are some of my closest friends in the ministry

From there, I did everything from the understanding that my ministry to other people is in direct connection to God’s ministry to me. If you’re a pastor, you might not realize this, but the people in your church can tell if ministry is just a job or if it is the passion of your life. They can sniff it out, even if you don’t think they can.

So it is crucial that you make it a habit to daily look in the mirror and let God rewrite the things in your life that need course correction.

The best way to look in the mirror to make these course corrections is by letting the Word of God do its work on you.

Make Worthy Investments

Many of those reading might not be a pastor at all. You might feel like this talk of the ministry simply doesn’t apply to you. You’re pushing paper, you’re selling cars, you’re waiting tables. Your question is a little bit different: “How can I turn what I’m doing into something that brings God glory?”

Here’s the thing: if you are a believer, you are in ministry. And for those reading who don’t work at a church, many times you have an even greater opportunity to impact the world around you for the Kingdom. As you let the Word rule in your heart, you start showing up on time. Working hard. Being a person of integrity.

See, we are all in the same boat here. Every single believer is a minister of the Gospel. Ministry is difficult, but you can do something right now that I believe will make the journey easier. I recommend having three kinds of people in your life:

A Paul: someone you can pick up the phone and call for advice. Who can invest in you. Who can be a voice of reason and stability in a world that is sometimes crazy and exhausting?

A Barnabas: a counterpart who is on the same level you are. You work alongside one another, sharpening each other constantly.

A Timothy: someone you are investing in. Sometimes your greatest joy will come not from you doing ministry, but from you investing in them and seeing them run with it.

Working for the Gospel was never meant to be easy, but it can be enjoyable if we let ourselves be ministered to by the Word and if we surround ourselves with people who empower us, strengthen us, and take what we’re doing to others—and teach them to do the same.

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