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Sarah Zylstra: What Pastors Should Do When Discouraged by All the Bad News

sarah zylstra

Sarah Zylstra is senior writer for The Gospel Coalition (TGC), where she oversees coverage of faith and work. She earned her master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Before TGC, Sarah reported news for Christianity Today for more than a decade. Along with Collin Hansen, Sarah is the co-author of “Gospelbound: Living with Resolute Hope in an Anxious Age.” She resides in the Chicago area with her husband and two sons.

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Key Questions for Sarah Zylstra

-You note in your book, “Gospelbound,” that “the key to living with resolute hope is to think big and small—at the same time.” What do you mean by that?

-Why do you think we tend to focus on the negative news about Christianity and culture today?

-How do you help pastors and church leaders have that resolute hope when people are more mad at them than ever for every decision they’re making?

​​-What are some of the characteristics you think Christians should have as they’re dealing with anxiety and fear?

Key Quotes from Sarah Zylstra

“We are a people who click on negative news for whatever reason. That’s how we’re designed. We always do it. So it feels like everything’s negative all the time. But there is more to the story. Christians are doing beautiful things. God is working in amazing ways all over the world.

“By thinking big, we’re not thinking nationally or even internationally. I’m talking big like the story of creation, like the story of all of history and God’s work.”

“We are living in the tail end of the story. And if you know stories, that’s actually the most relaxed part of the movie or of the book that you’re reading, when you’re just tying up loose ends…So if you think that big, it should really take a load off of you.”

“Maybe I could have that couple over for dinner. Maybe we could volunteer at our food pantry that’s down the street. Maybe I could run for my own city council…That’s what’s going to move the needle. That’s where God has placed you in your own neighborhood.”

“You cannot rescue, at least I cannot, a single girl from the Taliban right now. But I can come right back down small and like give a donation to my local pregnancy center.”

“It’s just true. It’s a hard time to be a pastor.”

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Jessica is a content editor for ChurchLeaders.com and the producer of The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past five years. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys West Coast Swing dancing, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.