• sonnyholmes


Yesterday while reading The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History by Boris Johnson, there was a sentence that fast-forwarded me to right now. The author was depicting France's capitulation to the Nazi threat and the pressure that was placed on Churchill to negotiate with Hitler prior to the Battle of Britain. He indicated that the French military was an "...origami army: they just kept folding with almost magical speed" (Page 20). What a powerful word picture, an origami army, folding and folding till there was a semblance of military organization. Origami men! Folded to the shape of the master. In that case, folded to the whims of a madman, Adolf Hitler.

Being a participant in the recent Reagan, Thatcher, Pope John Paul II tour with Gov. Mike Huckabee occasioned up-close exposure to the people of spine who won that war and brought change to the world in it's aftermath. With a passion for leadership, I am wondering why culture suddenly cheers the antics of origami men again, those who have folded to norms and political expediencies distant from truth and moral integrity. Origami men, indeed!

On the trip we spoke of praying, and what exactly should be our prayer today. Since God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1: 3), since Jesus promised that in the hour of our test we would be given words to speak (Luke 12:12), since He promsied to be with us at all places and at all times (Matthew 28:20), since we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthaisn 2:16), I am a little mystified when we continually pray for those things He has already graciously provided. My personal prayer moves me in another direction. It is that we wil have the spine to endure, the strength of character that insists we stand and not fold under the weight of a dark culture.

It's pandemic in the church world these days, the ease with which we fold. It may be one of the reasons 1,700 pastors walk away from ministry every single month, being worn out by folding, a crisis of character when a called person just can't fold anymore. It's one of the reasons I've launched this whole next chapter of Christian service, the dream of helping ministers find the courage to stand. It's the recovery of spine, the personal character of Christ in us!

Paul said it best. "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Origami men? You've got to be kidding me.

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  • sonnyholmes


Five pictures were chosen on the finishperiod home page. They were selected to portray the fragile emotional capacity of many of the ministers I have been privileged to work with over the past thirty-four years. Yes, of course there are many joys associated with service in a local congregation, denominational roles, and other places of ministry service. Underneath the Sunday morning veneers, however, are the less glamorous elements of Christian service. The reality is that many pastors and church staff members are discouraged, depressed, and contemplaing leaving the ministry for good. The research indicates that as many as 1,700 leave minsitry service every month. That is, every month. It's a staggering reality.

It's not the picture and a thousand words thing again! It's really a picture because there are no words. The catastrophic truth of so many individuals taking the off-ramp of ministry is beyond comprehension and expression. Few professional service categories report such volumnous exit numbers. And the stories behind the reality are heart breaking, the frustration, discouragement, family dysfunction, high expectations, and entrenched systems that push called people to the edge. So, the picture presented here today is to say what our words cannot always communciate. Ministry is hard. It weighs on those called to serve. Take note.

Today, pray for your pastor and church staff. If you're one of them, call a colleague and give them a word of encouragement. Let the picture speak words to you that are seldom spoken. Perhaps it wil compel you to finally say something about the tragedy of so many called people leaving His service.

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, ESV).

#frustration #depression

  • sonnyholmes

Hundreds of people leave pastoral ministry every month. Many factors contribute to this tragic reality. Underneath, however, is a central truth: ministry is hard. Jesus said it would be so. And He provided a model to guide His followers as they serve Him. explores and communicates the biblical disciplines of going the distance in ministry. Through daily article postings and use of outside resources, will provide analysis of the twenty-first centrury ministry landscape, assistance in understanding and articulating personal ministry calling, discovery of biblical foundations for congregational service, and the personal character necessary for long-term ministry service.

There's a another angle on the agenda. The dynamics of finishing aren't the sole proprietorship of Christian ministry. They also apply to every life situation----relationships, marriage, careers, education, and all of the other meaningful commitments that define life. So, the biblical foundations of for ministry will also strengthen longevity in every human arena.

In a world of short term commitments, learning the biblical disciplines of finishing is essential to our own personal service, and the mission assigned to us by Jesus. Here's a prayer that this new ministry direction will perhaps encourage someone to envision and strive for the finish line in every dimension of personal endevor.

#ministry #discouragment

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