One of the unhealthy syndromes that often develops in the clergy is an unstated attitude of, “I’m here to help you, you’re not here to help me.” It is rarely that crassly stated, but is usually subconsciously communicated. Ministers, as well as their congregations, need to realize that ministry is a two-way enterprise. Even the strongest in the clergy have moments when they need a loving shoulder.
Frequently, and sometimes justly, David and I have been accused of always being so busy helping other people that we were unable to receive help ourselves. You can discipline yourself so strictly that putting other people first becomes a habit, and a good one.
Upon entering a crowded room, you immediately think, “Who here needs love or encouragement? Who is lonely? Who is hurting?” You pattern yourself to find the sensitive ways to respond. You concentrate on giving. Consequently, you become almost unable to recognize, let alone express, your own needs.
We have often had to stop ourselves and inquire, “Now what needs do we have? And, how can we allow others to serve us?”
Generally, most of the things on our lists were services requiring specialized skills of mechanics, carpenters. and electricians rather than emotional and psychological helps. Sometimes this was frustrating for those to whom we had given emotional support. They wanted to return like for like.
We all need to learn to give what we are able to, and never to downgrade the gifts God has imparted to us. I have been as deeply ministered to by people fixing my plumbing as by those who have stood beside me in moments of soul crises.
For decades, Karen Mains and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Karen has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
In addition, pastors will find special resources to help them create effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.