Archives For Ministry

These articles are written to encourage and equip you and your people to serve others by meeting needs in love.

Topics include: leadership, preaching, vision, SHAPE, building ministry teams, developing leaders, becoming Purpose Driven, mental health, kids, students, etc.

By Joe

Dear Suicidal Me:

If you’re reading this, you’re not in a good place. The track repeating in your head is full of lies. You have value and worth. You are loved.

You probably don’t believe me, and that’s ok too. Remember what Christ said about you and know he would have paid the ultimate price for you even if you were the only sinner in the world. He has a plan for you. These thoughts are coming because YOUR plan for you isn’t working.

The depression is deep right now, and you’re not going to be rationalized out of it. I know it’s hard to reach out. Not everyone knows how to help you, but some do. Maybe someone will say something that isn’t helpful. They are saying it because they care. Forgive them and find someone who will listen and let you hurt. You don’t need a fixer, but deep down, you know you need a friend and how to find them.

I know these thoughts keep coming, and you know how to stay safe, but you need to know you are not rational. If you think you can make a rational decision…

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Thinking Carefully

By Rick Warren

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”

Proverbs 4:23 (GNT) 

God is far more interested in changing your mind than changing your circumstances. 

We want God to take away all of our problems, pain, sorrow, and suffering. But God wants to work on us first. Transformation won’t happen in your life until you renew your mind and your thoughts begin to change. 

Your thoughts are powerful. They have tremendous ability to shape your life for good or for bad. For example, maybe you believed the lie someone told you about yourself when you were growing up: “You’re worthless. You don’t matter.” If you accepted that thought, even though it wasn’t true, it shaped your life. 

The way to be careful with your thoughts is to examine them because some thoughts are good, but others aren’t. Careless thoughts lead to a careless life. 

This is one reason you get mentally fatigued: There’s a battle going on in your brain 24 hours a day. Satan is trying to neutralize your mind—your greatest asset in this battle. He wants…

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By Joe

I’m a grateful believer in Jesus who struggles with mental health. My name is Joe.

For most of my life, I have struggled with extremely negative self-talk. My limited coping skills for ADHD, depression and anxiety, limited social connections, bullying, and abuse fueled my disdain for myself. As a result, I never felt worthy of the love of others, and I had very little love for myself.

My life was like a funnel. I slowly circled the top at first, but as the baggage built up, I began spinning faster and faster until I dove down to my rock bottom. I tried harder and harder to work my way back up, but I could not overcome the lifelong hang-ups and habits. Finally, I was ready to give up. I was sure the mess I had made and the mess I had become could never be cleaned up.

When there was no reason to love me or believe in me, my wife got me help and stood by me. For the first time in my life, I got a glimpse of the love of Christ through my wife. I finally understood what Jesus did…

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It’s no secret that ministry is full of stress. Many of you are at the end of your rope. Maybe you’re even ready to resign because of the stress. 

This stress not only impacts our churches, but it also adversely affects our own health. Proverbs 14:30 tells us: “Peace of mind means a healthy body, but jealousy will rot your bones” (NCV). Too much stress isn’t healthy.

The good news is God doesn’t leave us empty-handed as we struggle with stress. The Bible has a lot to say about peace. Whether it’s spiritual peace (peace with God), emotional peace (peace of God), or relational peace (peace with other people), God’s Word provides a pattern of life that leads to the peace we’re all looking for. 

Jesus once said, “I leave you peace; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world does. So don’t let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 NCV). 

The peace of God isn’t something you earn. It’s not something you need to psych yourself up…

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By Roger Stanton, National Ambassador Coach

Shepherds place oil on the forehead of their sheep to help keep them focused on the shepherd’s voice. In addition, the oil keeps the bugs away from the sheep’s faces and, most importantly, out of their nose. Once the bugs get into the nasal cavity, they can kill the sheep more easily by burrowing into their brains.

It’s not a stretch to think about how these bugs are similar to some of the distractions in our world that not only distract us from our shepherd’s voice but can lead to deadly addictions. We can see how our distractions today could lead to death in any area of our lives.

The Shepherd David understood this when he penned these two passages in Psalms:

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:5-6 NIV).

“The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people…

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By Roger Stanton, National Ambassador Coach

I’m a grateful believer in Jesus, who is overcoming an addiction to pornography and lust, and my name is Roger.

I spent most of my Sundays and Wednesdays at my local church growing up. I learned to emulate what I thought was a solid faith in Jesus. However, the faith “I built” wasn’t strong enough to hold up to the temptations life would bring along. To make matters worse, the religion I subscribed to disallowed my ability to be a sinner and a “good person” at the same time. As I grew into adulthood and racked up my sins, I faced a true coming to Jesus moment.

Shortly after getting married, my wife caught me in my addiction. That day I had to own the fact that I was indeed a sinner. I had heard my whole life that Jesus could help the sinners, but I didn’t know how to be the sinner that accepted Christ’s saving. I was full of pride and needed change.

Seven years of relapses later, our local church launched a Celebrate Recovery ministry. I was coerced to show up to the opening night for…

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By Stephanie

I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ, in recovery to work on perfectionism and self-control. My name is Stephanie.

I grew up in a small town; we did not have much. My childhood was not what one would call normal. My father was in construction by trade, but his real job was selling drugs to support his habits. My mother left the picture early on due to the chaos and abuse in our home. I had to raise my siblings at an early age, and the chaos led me to follow my father’s example, using drugs at age ten and drinking by thirteen. By the time I was 15, I was a dropout living with a man twice my age, selling drugs full-time and using them just as much to numb my sadness, anger, and shame. I would struggle with using men for validation and drugs to zone out for over 15 years. I jumped from relationship to relationship seeking the love and acceptance I desperately needed. I would seek ways to fill the void in my life until my 30s.

I grew to need to control situations because of my…

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By Danny Duchene, National Director for CR Inside

I recently read a testimony by one of the Celebrate Recovery Inside state reps. Stephanie’s soul-damaging experiences of a life of substance abuse began at the age of ten years old. When I think about the innocence and vulnerability of ten-year-old children, I realize what a miracle Stephanie’s story is. In 1998, the CDC and Kaiser Permanente published mental health research called the ACES study that describes early age traumatic experiences (“About the CDC-Kaiser ACE Study”). Some of these impacts include chronic illnesses, a greater likelihood of long-term mental health problems, and the social and behavioral side effects of a life of substance abuse. Unfortunately, many people never recover from their early age traumatic experiences.

When I consider the ACES study in the light of Stephanie’s testimony that includes pre-teen trauma, I remember the words of Jesus when he said, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14 NLT). Stephanie’s light shines in the specific areas of her testimony. In the same way, every testimony of a changed life through faith in Jesus Christ…

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“A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.”

Proverbs 25:28 (NLT)

Where do you lack self-control in your life? When you live according to our impulses, you open the door to pain and heartache. Self-control protects you from harm and allows you to fulfill God’s purpose for your life. 

Without self-control, you will be mastered by your moods, which wildly swing back and forth. God gave you emotions, but you can’t be mastered by them. It is better to live by your values and commitments, which means doing the right thing even when you don’t feel like it. 

When you develop self-control, you are able to restrain your reactions. You won’t be careless with your words because you’ll think before you speak. When others gossip, your self-control will keep you from joining in. When the Little League umpire makes a bad call, you won’t yell at him like it’s the last game in the World Series. 

Without self-control, your schedule will be managed by your opportunities and not your priorities. If you don’t determine how your time is spent, other people…

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Due to the unique circumstances of the past two years, many pastors have faced or are facing burnout. If that’s you today, there is hope. 

Just like your car, we each have an “energy tank.” We constantly go from draining that tank to filling it up. And no one likes to run out of gas. It can be dangerous, particularly when we run out of gas on a major highway. The same is true in our ministries. Burnout can be dangerous. To fight against it, we need to keep our energy tanks full.

Jesus says it like this in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (NIV).

Jesus’ words give us four steps we can take to keep our emotional tank filled up.

1. Get fed up (with the current state of your life).

If you…

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If you are reading this article then most likely you have a passion, burden or possibly a curiosity about mental health and the role the church can play in effectively caring for those affected by a mental health disorder.

The following are a few reasons why I got involved and took action to launch mental health groups at our church.

1. I Needed It!

My wife and I have been in ministry almost 30 years, serving in several different pastoral roles. However, we never imagined that we would be serving in our current role at our church now. We are the Restoration Life Group Pastors at New Life Church in Little Rock, AR, overseeing small groups for individuals impacted by mental health, addiction, grief, abuse, or trauma.

“When we were experiencing those dark times over and over again without any end in sight, it began to drain us.”

My wife grew up in a family that was impacted by addiction and—unknowingly—mental health disorders. Little did we know that we would walk a dark and lonely journey for many years in our own family. Approximately four years ago, it…

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Your biggest enemy probably isn’t who you think it is. It’s not Satan, and it’s not the world around you. Your biggest enemy is you

The battle inside of us will destroy our ministries if we let it. Paul says this of himself, “I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate” (Romans 7:15 GNT). If you’re honest, you’ll agree with that statement. 

I’ve found that there are seven weapons of self destruction that ruin more lives than anything else: shame, uncontrolled thoughts, compulsions, fear, hopelessness, bitterness, and insecurity. 

Ministry doesn’t make us immune to these self-destructive behaviors.

But the answer isn’t found in modern culture or in a book. It’s found in a person—Jesus. In Romans 7-8, we find seven habits that will help set us free from these self-destructive tendencies.

1. Remind ourselves daily of what Jesus did for us.

Many of us are saved, but we don’t act like it. Instead, we’re filled with shame, uncontrolled thoughts, and compulsions. We’re not…

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