It saddens me each time I hear of another pastor who has lost his ministry. Sometimes they leave ministry due to burnout. Sometimes they have been hurt so deeply by the church they cannot continue. Sometimes they love the things of the world too much. Whatever their reason, they have abandoned their post. Scripture offers us a great contrast between two men in ministry... Demas and Mark.
Demas is only mentioned three times in the Bible. The first mention identifies him as a "fellow laborer" with the Apostle Paul (cf. Philemon 1:24). The second occurrence only mentions his greeting to the church at Colosse (cf. Col. 4:14). His third and final mention indicates he has abandoned the ministry (cf. 2 Tim. 4:9-11). My conclusion... don't be a Demas. ;)
Paul doesn't provide the details as to why Demas has abandoned the ministry. Perhaps a moral failure, the persecution was too great, or some other reason. Paul simply says that Demas' desires were a worldly focus.
The same passage that indicates Demas' abandonment (i.e. 2 Timothy 4:9-11) also indicates a desire for Mark to join Paul in his work, "for he is useful to me for ministry." There is a great contrast here between Demas and Mark. Mark abandoned Paul on his first missionary journey, but found redemption and ended strong. Demas began strong with the Apostle Paul but abandoned him for the things of the world. My conclusion... be more like Mark.
Ministry is hard work and your pastors need your prayers! Pray that God will protect them from moral failure. Pray that God will protect them from persecution. Pray that the church will actually be an encouragement to their ministry as opposed to a discouragement. If you don't want a "Demas" for a pastor, pray for him.
A youth pastor and his wife tell of a story in which they were struggling to make ends meet financially. Their bank account was down to a few pennies. They were getting paid the next day, but they didn't have enough money to purchase basic things they needed before the next day, including toilet paper! The couple was reading Philippians 4:6-7 and decided not to worry about their circumstances and take it to the Lord in prayer. Later that night, they heard their doorbell. When they went to the door they discovered their church youth group had affectionately "rolled" their yard with toilet paper. Seemingly out of fear of being caught, they didn't use all of the toilet paper and instead used only one roll and left the remainder on the front porch when they rang the doorbell. God had answered their prayer!
I am extremely grateful for the untold numbers of volunteers that our church has. I was encouraged this week to hear testimonies from those in our community who commended us for the number of volunteers who serve at our Kids Camp (VBS). The high volume of volunteers and the age range of those volunteers are a strong statement about our core values as a church to our community.
I am honored to serve as the Lead Pastor in a church where children and families are a high core value. Our church doesn't just give lip service to children and families, we have an "all-in" approach to such things as Kids Camp (VBS). From teenagers to senior adults and everyone in-between, we appreciate you! From volunteers who have been serving in the months of preparation for Kids Camp to the volunteers who only had one evening to serve, everyone was needed and appreciated! Thank you for leading with grace!
Thank you for showing that we are for Montgomery County! #forMoCo
Dr. Chris Dortch has been in vocational ministry since 1993. His blog is aimed to "equip the saints for the work of ministry."