The Pastor's Calling and Challenge: Encouragement from Pastor Allen Jackson
There is no doubt about it — ministry in a post-covid world is difficult. Churches across the nation are closing their doors permanently. Pastors are exhausted and considering leaving the ministry. And the number of people who hold a biblical worldview is decreasing. The state of faith communities in America could seem bleak but there’s more to the story.
We recently sat down with Pastor Allen Jackson from World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee to discuss the state of pastors and churches in America. Some of what he had to share is included in the article below, but if you don’t want to miss the full conversation, you may view it here.
Pastor Jackson has been in ministry for over 40 years, and he understands the pressure that pastors are facing in their churches today. But according to him, ministry was never supposed to be easy:
I've seen the surveys—I suspect you've seen them too—about the condition of the church in our nation. And the statistics aren't good. The numbers of people that hold a biblical worldview are in the single digits. It's almost impossible to believe the participation rates in our churches are down. Churches across our nation are being sold. I see survey after survey where pastors say they're considering quitting, that they're tired, and I understand a bit of that. But I want to start with just one idea… Nobody said this was easy. Most of the people that Jesus recruited to be his frontline disciples, with the exception of John—at least according to tradition— they were martyred.
So, I think if we're going to imagine that we're the 21st century edition of the Book of Acts—and we are—then we need to start with the reality that serving the people of God on a God assignment is difficult. We didn't sign up for the Boy Scouts or the Girl Scouts or a Brownie troop. This isn't a traveling sports team. We signed up to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice in the purposes of God, and that will take the very best we have.
When we look at Jesus’ ministry on earth, it was not easy either. Afterall, He was ultimately crucified because of His ministry. However, Jesus was always surrounded by a group of close friends that encouraged Him and accompanied Him. According to Pastor Jackson, it is those small voices of encouragement that we can count on to lift us up.
What I have found is that God has always provided a voice. There's been someone with an encouraging word or helping to illuminate the path so that I never felt like I was completely alone or abandoned. And neither are you. If today I'm the only voice telling you, “You can finish,” well, I want you to know it's not just my opinion. I believe the God of heaven and earth has made it possible for you to complete your assignment and to do it well.
As we enter the month of October—which happens to be Pastor Appreciation Month—prayerfully consider doing something nice for your pastor and his family to encourage him as he obeys God and serves your local church. Consider writing him a note of appreciation and including a gift card to a local restaurant so that he and his family can enjoy a nice dinner together. Write him a brief email and ask how you can be praying for him. Be that voice of encouragement that he can rely on when he feels alone and discouraged in his ministry.
America needs strong churches now more than ever. But we will never have strong churches without strong leaders in our churches. Pastors and ministry leaders need our support, they need people willing to serve alongside of them. Allow Pastor Jackson’s words to motivate you and remind you that you are also called to be a living sacrifice. You, also, must stand up and say, “Here I am, Lord.” Together, we can strengthen our churches and, ultimately, strengthen America.
United. We Stand.
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