3 Steps to Heal From Ministry Hurt

ministry hurt

Today could be the day you stop hurting and start helping yourself when you step out of the pain and into the promise that God has for your ministry assignment.

For every season, God has you right where you are supposed to be. Some seasons are more challenging than others. Recently I faced a challenging season in my ministry, and I realized that I took three steps to heal from ministry hurt to find God’s promise in the midst of pain.

If you have pastored for any length of time, you have been hurt in ministry. The ministry like any profession has its ups and downs. What is unique about the ministerial profession is that it is a calling, not a job. You could have been called to serve as a teacher, doctor or sanitation worker, but instead God has called you to the ministry, and it is laden with spiritual landmines that are unique to the profession. The one thing that sustains a minister during these trying times is a God call. 

As a minister, where are you supposed to go when you have been hurt by a church member or a church leader? When God has called you to a place and ministry, you cannot just walk away. What I know for sure is even in the midst of pain, God extends his promise of renewal for teaching, loving, and rebuking. 

Here are three steps to follow when you are dealing with ministry pain.

Step 1: Step away and pray.

Realize that you are not superhuman; you feel pain like everyone else, even though you just might be able to hide it better. But pain is pain, and it hurts. When feeling hurt by someone in or out of the church, step away and pray. By stepping away, you are providing space between the person and the situation to reflect on what has been said, how it affected you and to see if you could have done things differently. Once you have had time to reflect, then direct your emotions into emoting a prayer to God that surrenders that pain, and allow God to turn it into a promise. In the period between the pain and promise, God does his best work. 

Through the power of prayer God moves and directs your steps to speak and act in a Christ-like way that honors him and the calling on your life.

Step 2: Step back from negative voices and focus on the positive ones.  

Negative voices in ministry seem to get all the attention and for good reason—they are usually the loudest voices in the room. Why is it that ministers provide so much power to the negative voice by entertaining it with such frequency? Have you ever thought that those negative voices are distractions from the real work taking place inside the church? Who wins in that situation? 

If you said the evil one, you are correct. So, if you know distractions are a tool from hell, why elevate them to heaven status by acknowledging the presence of the negative voice? God wants our prayers to be uplifting, not downtrodden. By stepping back from negative voices and elevating positive ones, you are giving God permission to perform miracles. 

When a negative voice tries to speak, politely excuse yourself to seek positive people. When someone shares something through the church grapevine, gladly cut the vine by not giving the negative word the time of day. Take your power back as a leader by sharing about what God is doing in your ministry and church. 

Step 3: Step Into What God Wants for You and Your Ministry.

Pastor Matthew Hancock recently shared a post on social media that spoke to my heart: “Healthy things grow. Growing things change. Unhealthy things become stagnant. Stagnant things don’t change…. that is called dying.” 

How many times have you allowed an unhealthy situation to overtake your prayer life to the point that you realize only with the passage of time how you were so distracted that you missed God’s blessing? God has great plans for you and your ministry. Your current assignment is a God assignment. Your current ministry address has been addressed by God to do something extraordinary if you will trust him.

When you give a voice to the negative, you are planting seeds of negativity into your ministry. Take back the power over your ministry by pursuing God, not the problem. Find the healthy things about your assignment and celebrate those. Your future may not be the way you would have designed it, but if you trust God, it will be perfect. Stop pretending you are not hurt and start praying for God to help you move forward by seeing the positive in a negative situation. 

Today could be the day you stop hurting and start helping yourself when you step out of the pain and into the promise that God has for your ministry assignment.

From Outreach Magazine  Why It Pays Not to Take Shortcuts in Leadership