Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mental Health for Ministers

Mental Health for Ministers

1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Written by Bill Bagents, D.Min.

  1. 2:1-2. Reject false shame and false guilt. What is is. What’s bad is bad. We can’t polish it enough to make it good. We’re blessed if we don’t even try to shine it up. We’re blessed if we reject the temptation to try to hide the truth. [You know why I say “try to hide the truth.” Truth doesn’t hide well]. I some people think it’s embarrassing to admit that we’ve taken lumps in ministry. Some quality people have been kicked around at one time or another. Even some topflight leaders have been kicked around on occasion. Moses. David (his own men wanted to kill him on occasion.) Paul. Jesus.
  2. 2:3. Keep your motives clean. What you can’t do from a good motive, don’t do. It’s OK to put motives on the table. Often it’s wise. It can preempt/prevent trouble. There’s only one person you have to face in the mirror each morning and only one ultimate judge of every man’s heart. If your own heart smites you …
  3. 2:4. Work for God and not for the brethren. God’s the better boss. He’s consistent. He’s gracious. He communicates well. He stands with those who stand with Him. “What did I do for God today? Was I God’s man today?”
  4. 2:4. Forget about trying to please everybody. You can please most of the people most of the time – if you’re gifted. Might please most of the people some of the time. But, we can never please all of the people. Some just won’t allow it.
  5. 2:5. Don’t go consequentialist. You know those guys: the end justifies the means, the results justify the methods. There will be times when there’s an easy path to an important goal, but that path is less than Christian. Don’t take it. It’ll bite you. That’s what the devil offered Jesus in Matthew 4.
  6. 2:6. Don’t base your self-worth on your approval rating. Remember John 6. Jesus fed the 5,000 and they loved Him. On the next day, they followed Him across the lake. When Jesus questioned their motives and taught them about the true bread of life, “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him.” (6:66)
  7. 2:6. Don’t focus on your rights. i.e. “we might have made the demands of an apostle.” If you’re what you ought to be as a minister, they can’t pay you enough. If you’re not, you’re lucky that they’re paying you at all.
  8. 2:7-8. Minister from the heart. Love deeply. Get close to people. Show them that you care. It’s a myth that preachers get into trouble because they get too close to the brethren. I know we can get the wrong kind of close. I know we can “clique out” i.e. get close to some and keep our distance from others.
  9. 2:9. Work hard. Colossians 3:23.
  10. 2:10-12. Stay moral. 1 Peter 1:13-16. Otherwise, it’s just a sham. It can’t have heart, it can’t last. Not of Christ.

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