3 Truths to Fight Pastoral Despair

Scott Slayton | January 30, 2016

In my early years as a pastor I met many men who seemed hardened and jaded by their decades in ministry. They recited laundry lists of offenses that deacons and church members had committed against them through the years. They seemed to have little confidence God was at work in their current ministries. This seemed odd to me. I couldn’t fathom how they weren’t daily blown away by the immense privilege of pastoring God’s people.

Few years had to pass before I started feeling some of the same things. John Stott’s observation began to ring clearly: “Discouragement is the occupational hazard of Christian ministry.”

Pastors preach the gospel every week. We stand behind the pulpit, look across the room, and proclaim the free pardon of sin found in Christ alone. We remind people of the hope they have in Christ when they walk through life’s darkest valleys—then we wrestle with crippling despair ourselves as we forget the very gospel we preach to others.

Romans 8 and the Fight for Joy 

During a trying time a few years ago, I opened to Romans 8:28 since it seemed a logical place to go during a hard season. As I zoomed out, Paul’s words throughout the entire chapter started sinking deeper into…

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