Of the many metaphors of contemporary life, the low battery may be among the most vivid. A culture dependent on portable devices, electronics, and movement understands the necessity of maintaining a charge in order to manage the complexities of a connected world. Most of us are learning the disciplines of charge times. A dead battery won't get us where we need to go.
Fatigue among Americans is systemic. Whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual the outcomes create layers of dysfunction in just about every venue of human involvement. Few marriages, relationships, careers, families, or even churches can function at peak when totally depleted people are their human resource. What is more, much of the research about longevity, tenure, and the growing dropout rate across the board affirms the tragic impact of so many lives running on low. It's the battery thing on a personal level.
Many pastors and spiritual leaders leave their calling because they are low. It's true of people who leave their churches too. And, the list of things that drain them is worthy of our study and attention. Often it's simply overwork and the physical weariness that siphons off their resolve and passion. Just as often, though, there are emotional and spiritual factors that can pierce them deeply and eventually exhaust their personal resources. These can include---
1. Isolation and loneliness in their place of service or calling.
2. Lack of encouragement or appreciation for their willingness to serve.
3. Unmet expectations, what they hoped to derive from their service.
4. Being under-equipped for the mission they are seeking to fulfill.
5. Failure to connect with others involved in their assignment.
6. The impact of their assignment or calling on their family.
7. Discouragement about the mission and their role in it.
8. Relational stress and misunderstanding about how to deal with it.
9. Spiritual immaturity.
10. Leadership issues in the formal and informal church structures.
Two realities are super-imposed over church dynamics that are often unspoken when we're talking the things of the kingdom. One, ministry is hard. Pastors, church staff members, and leaders at every level of church life learn quickly what one of my seminary professors told us the first day: church ministry isn't a Billy Graham Crusade. He wasn't slamming Dr. Billy Graham, the nations pastor for so many years, but was reminding us that spiritual leadership isn't the stuff of human ability but of spiritual resources. Two, service in the church and life as a Christian is hard too. Remembering that we are all fallen humans helps us to grasp his provision of sustaining grace for living this life. It's tough. It needs to be said.
Just as clearly, his provision for this life is supernatural. It's not about fear but power (see 2 Timothy 1:7), not about dread but hope (see Ephesians 1:8), not about emptiness but of being filled (see Ephesians 5:18 and Philippians 1:9-11). Even more, being low isn't the promise of having been called into the community of faith, the church. Good grief, there are at least seventeen "one another" passages that should regulate our ministry to each other and moderate the lows.
The passion of finishperiod.com is to encourage, equip, and embolden those he has called to serve, and especially those who are so low they are considering the exit ramps. If you know someone in a physical, emotional, or spiritual funk and they are thinking about walking away, give them this web site. it isn't much, but there are some encouraging words and biblical guidance for anyone who is low.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV