Today’s pastors need encouragement

Thank you Lord for creative and caring members

I was so blessed to receive a gift the other Sunday. It was not a box of mooncakes. Rather, something more precious:  a wooden box  with a beautiful handpainted rainbow, the word “Inspiring” and my name “Kenny”. Each of the English adult congregation pastor received one – each unique. Inside the box were well-crafted and anonymous personal notes of appreciation and affirmation. I read mine a few times and was encouraged. There are always warm and loving people in church who are spiritually alert and know when their pastors need encouragement and they do something about it.

They are like  Jonathan, that rare gem, the covenant brother of David.

Your love for me abounds. Thank You Lord.

It is often forgotten that every pastor needs encouragement just as much as members. In fact, they need it even more. For many reasons too.

For one, they had entered the ministry with a passion to make a difference in people’s lives, but it frustrates and pulls them down when their expectations have not been matched with reality on the ground. People change so little and so slowly. Some even get worse. Some members show so much of their dark sides, it makes pastors feel like Elijah under the juniper tree.

The ministry is very demanding and people have unrealistic expectations of their pastors. To worsen things, the pastor lives in a Web 2.0 world where his members can hear the best preachers in town and the world, and be unfairly  compared to and criticized. In addition, the pastor pushes himself constantly, and even lays his health and family on the altar of people’s immature expectations .

Another pastoral struggle is the fight in the mind against anxiety and fear. Even more vexing is the struggle to embrace ambiguity, paradox and suffering in ministry.

Pastors  get burnt out from prolonged labour and no sabbaticals; weary from working with meagre fruit to show for sacrifices put in; and from being misunderstood and hurt.

To worsen things are professional critics who think they are doing the church good by criticizing with disdain and disregard the weaknesses of the church and pastors.

Satan is of course always searching for unmended gaps in the fence of unity through which to discourage, harass, attack pastors. Centuries of expertise has informed their strategies. “Get the leader and the sheep will suffer,” the devil officer will tell his demon soldiers. “Use the church members and it doubles the impact of hurt and discouragement.”

When David was running for his life with the state army of king Saul searching for him in the wilderness of Ziph, he was filled with discouragement and fear.  Jonathan risked angering his father Saul, and found David and encouraged him:

And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. “Don’t be afraid,”  he said. ‘My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.”(1 Samuel 23:16-17)

Mooncakes supplies energy, which pastors need. But encouragement supplies hope and fresh motivation for the journey ahead.

Pastors of today, more than ever, need treasure boxes like the one I have received.

Share if you find it useful...Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookPin on Pinterest

Off to trek in the Annapura trails in Nepal


Early this morning I sent my wife and two trekking friends to the Changi airport.Together with nine others they flew off to Kathmandu.

She had been packing for close to a week and even then last night she was at it past midnight, and this morning she was again at it before we went off at 6.20am.

Are women different from men in the way and the amount they pack? Or is it just that my wife would be in the scenic and cool mountains for many many days? When I went two years ago it was for a less than a week. This time they would be trekking about ten days.

How many days would it be before the fun and sense of wonder evaporates, and the drudgery and hardship and longing for ease and laksa kick in?

For me it was the connect with the Creator, and the good company of friends that sublimated the hardship, sacrifices and weariness.

A great incentive was to become toned, healthier, and to have achieved it while enjoying a holiday.

As I waved goodbye to them I felt a tinge of longing to be with them. Nostalgia descended as I viewed slides of two years ago.

Have a look, and consider planning a different kind of vacation one day.

Jewels of Nepal from Blogpastor on Vimeo.

Share if you find it useful...Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookPin on Pinterest

Blogpastor plagiarized

Never before has my stuff been plagiarized. When I read the latest post of Stillhaventfound, I felt that he has stolen the essence of what I have in my heart and put it in his own blog post. I have no proof, but he photocopied what was hidden inside my hazy neurons, so you’ll have to read it HERE and judge for yourself. Doesn’t it sound like me?  🙂

Share if you find it useful...Email this to someoneTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on FacebookPin on Pinterest