As a pastor for over 43 years, I’ve experienced the ups and downs ministry brings. Sometimes it seems like I’m on an emotional high after a baptism service, a breakthrough elders’ meeting, or a powerful worship service. Other times I’ve had to battle thoughts of giving up when I receive several critical emails in one week, a staff member is consistently underperforming and I need to confront him, or when it seems like the ministry has hit a lid. However, I believe one thing makes a pastor’s job most joyful. See if you agree with me about how to find joy in ministry.
Teach Your Church to Help YOU Find Joy in Ministry
In the most intimate of the Apostle Paul’s New Testament letters, Philippians, he gives us a clue to what can make makes for joy in ministry. He writes this phrase in Philippians 2.16 … in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
William Barclay explains the meaning of this verse when he says that Paul uses a term for an athlete who trains. No athlete wants his training to fail. He wants to win the race for which he’s training. So, Paul prays that he may not be like an athlete whose training and effort have gone for nothing. For him the greatest prize in life was to know that through him others had come to know and to love and to serve Jesus Christ. [Barclay, W. (Ed.). (1975). The letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians (electronic ed., pp. 45–46). Philadelphia: The Westminster John Knox Press.]
In other words, when Paul came to the end of his life, he would not want his sacrifice and service to have been a waste. He is telling the church at Philippi that they bring him the greatest joy in ministry when they love God and love others well.