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.
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
In my years of ministry experience, I have dealt with either suicidal threats, suicidal attempts, or suicidal death at least once each year over the past 25 years. This year (2017) it was twice and both were young teenagers. One was a boy and one was a girl. One resulted in a preventative visit to the ER and the other resulted in a funeral. I have preached funerals of those who have committed suicide and have walked families through the steps necessary to get help. One of the hardest parts of ministry is often convincing parent(s) or legal guardian(s) that help is needed. Families often respond, “She’s done this before,” “He’s just wanting attention,” or “All teenagers make suicidal threats.” First, not all teenagers threaten suicide. Some research indicates that only 16% of teenagers threaten suicide, and half of them follow through on their threat. I am not okay with a 50/50 chance they may or may not follow through on a threat. That is why we can never dismiss any threat of suicide as insignificant. We cannot fall into the trap of believing this is “normal teenage behavior,” because it’s not! Here are some questions, thoughts, and helps…
What if I am having suicidal thoughts? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can even chat with someone online at http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx
What if I know of someone who has threatened suicide? In some cases and in some states you may be legally obligated to inform authorities of the threat. For example, as a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, I have agreed to adhere to a “Code of Ethics” that would prompt me to take protective action when threats of suicide are known. In ALL CASES you and I both have moral obligation to inform authorities of the threat. Here’s what to do and what to expect…
What NOT to do if you know someone has threatened suicide…
Here are some additional thoughts and resources about suicide...
Do the right thing.
Dr. Chris Dortch has been in vocational ministry since 1993. His blog is aimed to "equip the saints for the work of ministry."