Minister Needing a Minister

This Sunday I read in the Georgia Times Union about ministers getting burned out. It's true. Many do not realize that ministry is a 24/7/365 endeavor and it lasts for decades. All hours of the day and night, the phone can ring and you'll be off to this or that place to comfort, assist, or support someone. A bride will change locations for her wedding a few days before the event or change the entire ceremony. You may have only gotten two hours of sleep in the past twenty-four hours, but it does not matter you are on call constantly. Even vacations or days off can be circumvented by someone in need. It is a selfless calling, but you, as a minister, do it without hesitation.

So how does a minister avoid burn-out? Good question. Yes, the ministry is a calling. Yes, you expect God to give you the strength to do it all, but what happens when the Spirit is willing and the body is weak?

I've spoken at length with my own minister about this very thing. Yes, even though I am a pastor, I have a pastor. This helps beyond belief. Yes, we are expected to take our problems straight to the man upstairs in prayer. Yes, I do do this, but still it is a comfort to have another human listening for that instant feedback. Sometimes Our Heavenly Father doesn't answer immediately. I am after all, human and have needs. Two true believers are better than one.

I firmly believe in the promises God made to me and reinforced by His Son. He promised a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in my stomach...but there is so much more to stumble through this life besides those very basic necessities. While I have been enveloped by the Spirit during really stress-filled times like a death of a loved one, comforted beyond my wildest expectations in most's the cracks that get me.  All those gray areas which all not the food, house, and clothes issues.

All things work to the greater good. I can accept that. I have faith enough to move mountains, but there is a human physical frailty of which I speak. What happens when a minister has health issues? What happens when a minister has family issues? Depend on the Heavenly Father to remove these issues. Stand on the Rock of His promise to love and care for you just as your Earthly father did.

So what helps you?

December's Blessings

Imagine white Christmas lights and evergreens swagged around a round enclosed gazebo, a small table with candles, wine and the customary wine glass, an older bride and groom and you have my Christmas wedding. The couple flew in from Rhode Island to Jekyll Island and wanted to get married.

They had a hard time finding a minister who would marry them on Christmas Day. For me with a house full of family, I didn't give it a second thought, yes I would officiate. Love knows no holidays or boundaries. For a minister Christmas is no exception. There are no days off. This was a special service the nuptial couple and I came up with to encompass both of their faiths, Jewish and Christian. It had elements of both faiths in the whole service.

I performed ten weddings during the month of December. Not a landmark number, but with family, gift buying and the host of other things which go on during the was enough.

I married three military couples who either flew in from distance lands (Japan, Italy, Iraq) or were leaving soon to do their duty to keep our country secure. I can appreciate each of them and feel honored to support these unions. Imagine getting married one day and flying off the next for several months of separation. This takes commitment and a solidly based love. These people are my heroes. They are the no-so-white knights who protect my freedom and keep me safe.

Love one another and treat each other as you would want to be treated.