Two months of planning for our GC2 Summit on Facing Hard Truths & Challenges in Pastoral Ministry couldn’t have prepared us for what we saw God do this past Friday. Over 400 leaders joined us in person and nearly 80 livestreamed in from all over the world to hear pastors and counselors talk about leadership, burnout, and mental health. If you were unable to join us, you can purchase the full day’s recordings through the GC2 website. They will be available until January 10, 2020.
The messages from leaders such as Rick Warren, Derwin Gray, Ruth Hayley Barton, Drew Hyun, David Wang, Philip Ryken, Margaret Diddams, and others reflected the most important messages pastors need to hear today. Below are some of our takeaways.
Pastoring is difficult. Ask any pastor how the day is going and about 360 days of the year you’ll hear at least one challenge that day—relational, spiritual, physical, emotional, or mental. Roughly five days a year we feel like we wouldn’t have changed a thing. Those are precious days when so many are filled with defeat, discomfort, or discouragement.
Pastors are called on constantly to help people fix their lives, because pastors minister to people who are broken. But pastors are broken people, too. It’s easy to want to come up with the quick fix, the perfect remedy. I just need a plan! we muse to ourselves. I just need a strategy, or, I wish I could stay committed to the strategy I have, we think. Or, I need more sleep. I need more sabbath-ing.
Pastors tend to be doers, and in our doing we can forget that who we are in Christ matters far more than what we do for Christ. Derwin Gray summed up the recent G2 Summit’s focus succinctly: “The greatest work God wants to see done is not ministry THROUGH you, but ministry IN you.”
When pastors give and minister to the point of mental or emotional exhaustion we can begin to believe the lie that the answer to every challenge is a new plan or strategy: just give me the one strategy, the “magic bullet” I can use to lead my church to do ______, and I am set. There is no magic bullet. We don’t need a magic bullet. We need Jesus.
The only way to lead better is by letting God love you better. Rick Warren framed it this way, “Your first job in ministry is to let God love you. God made you to love you.” Too many pastors either don’t believe this, or don’t live as if they believe this. We don’t need more of anything except Jesus, and only he will be the one to guide us to what we actually do need more of.