Dear Wounded Pastor,
Thank you for your ministry.
It may not seem like it right now, but God has used you. I know this because God uses the kinds of things you’ve done — preaching the Word, praying for your people, caring for sheep, calling people to worship — to make an eternal difference. We often don’t get to see the results of our ministries, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.
I know you’re not perfect. I’m sure you’ve made mistakes. I know you’re a wounded pastor. But I want to remind you of a few things today. I hope it encourages you.
Dear Wounded Pastor: You’re Not Alone
Feeling rejected and beat up? Isaiah was warned about this kind of thing (Isaiah 6:9-10). Jesus’ family called him crazy (Mark 3:21). Everyone deserted Paul (2 Timothy 4:16). They fired Jonathan Edwards. Join the club.
I know it doesn’t make it much easier, but you’re not alone. Many of God’s best servants have been there. You’re in very good company.
Dear Wounded Pastor: We Are Not Our Ministries
I know we know this, but I forget often: we are not our ministries. In The Imperfect Pastor, Zack Eswine asks, “Did I know that I could serve Christ humanly and significantly whether or not I was a pastor or leader in ministry?”
Your worth doesn’t come from how well your ministry is going. Again, I believe this, but I don’t. Our value in God’s eyes is based on Jesus, not the ups and downs of our ministries. Your primary identity is that of son, and that identity is not in danger.
Rest secure. The most important thing about you is unchangeable (Romans 8:38-39). Rest in his love for you. It hasn’t changed.
Dear Wounded Pastor: God Will Set Things Right
We don’t have to settle scores because God will (Romans 12:19). Trust God with your pain. He is able to handle it. He knows what happens. He will judge so we don’t have to. God is equitable; he can sort things out. We can trust him completely.
“Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm,” wrote Paul. So what did Paul do about it? Nothing, beyond warning his readers. He entrusted it to God. “The Lord will repay him according to his deeds,” he said (2 Timothy 4:14).
Hold on to this truth: God knows the wrongs committed against you. Entrust those who have wronged you to him. God will right every wrong.
Dear Wounded Pastor: God Can Use Even This
One of my favorite tweets comes from Ray Ortlund:
So, pastor, you had a tough experience at a church. Think of it as a graduate seminar in how not to do church. A course worth taking.
— Ray Ortlund (@rayortlund) October 9, 2014
Believe me: God won’t waste anything you’re going through. What others mean for evil, God can use for good (Genesis 50:20). God may use this experience to lead you to healthier ministry in the future.
I know that this post can’t take away your pain. But I hope it reminds you of some thing things that are true. God isn’t finished with you. His love for you is unchanging. There’s more hope in your future than you can imagine. “When the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4).
I pray that God will encourage you even in the middle of this trial. Hang in there. You’re not alone. You are worth more to God than your ministry. He will set things right. And God will use even this.
He is faithful, and you are loved.
This article about a letter to a wounded pastor originally appeared here.