Dealing with Frustrations in Ministry

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By Robert “Duane” Cragun

Ok, you have invested a great deal of time and energy in a new family, they get involved, their children develop relationship with other kids in the church, its looking good and then it happens. Maybe in a few months or, in the situation I am thinking about, after two years a separation happens.  Despite all of your hard work and caring, your disciplining and loving them, they stop coming. Some times they will tell you why and other times they wont talk to you anymore. You try to discover what happened and how to make it work, but in the end they stop coming. And you feel abandoned. If this is your situation right now don’t feel alone, it happens to all of us! I have seen some devastating effects this can have on the minister and the congregation alike. Lets talk about a couple of them and what to do about it.

 

The sense of feeling abandoned: Its normal to have these feeling to a point, after all both you and members of your congregation have opened your hearts to these people and now their gone. You know Jesus had the same problem, he shared his heart and some rejected Him as well. This can have a side affect if we allow it to. It can bring you and your congregations willingness to reach out to others down to where fear could stop us in fulfilling the Great Commission. So what do we do? First of all you need to pray over the situation, keeping in mind that their reasons for leaving could be valid. We are not perfect, we can make mistakes. So with this in mind, prayer that the Lord will give you wisdom in this situation, pray for insight and what and how to act in trying to being them back and how to keep the congregation incurred and pray for the Lord t keep you encouraged as well.

Another effect can be a loss of desire to extend ourselves out to others: Yes the pain is real and the disappointment is also, but we are called to be His witness and we cannot allow anyone of thing stop us in the ministry we have been given. So what do we do? Learn from this experience. See what happened and be ready the next time to address it before it become’s a problem.  And help the church body to understand that these things happen sometimes let move forward!

To sum up this little blog, if their were no sin in the world, then everyne would see the light and turn to the Lord. Our churches would never do anything wrong and we and this problem would never exist, but sin is here and so are we. If they leave, try to keep them in prayer try to offer help and let them know you are there if they need you, but don’t give up. What we do hase eternal affects. As Dory in finding Nemo says, “Just keep swimming.”

 

God Bless

Duane Cragun

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Standing Before God in an unlikely place

​By Duane Cragun
Sometimes I just feel tired, maybe you know what I mean. People calling you and everyone asking questions, and don’t get me wrong, I love helping people, but sometimes it just seems as if the ministry can make you drained. 

That’s where I was a few days ago, nothing bad happened, just a lot going on at one time, and on top of that, Now It was Friday and I have made a commitment to my son each Friday that I would take him to his Pathfinders Bowling night. (I should explain that my son is disabled and in a wheelchair, he attends day services at an organization doe disabled people in Huntington County, IN. call Pathfinder Services.) So this mean that I load him in the car, take his wheelchair apart and then drove to the bowling alley and put everything back together and assisted him in the chair and then assist him with the wheelchair bowling ramp he uses each time it is his turn and then take it away for the other bowlers, then repeat each time it is his turn. Now I don’t mind doing this in fact I love spending time with him, but after working all day, I beat, common 10 frame!

Well last Friday something wonderful happened, while I talking to the other clients that were there bowling with my son, one young man came up and talked to me like he does each week, and I enjoy talking to him as well, but this week he was different, we talked about the game and how he was doing, then he said see you later as he was going back to his  alley, then he stopped and turned around and said, “I like you, thank you for being my friend.” Wow. That hit me hard. Here I was thinking how much I would like to go home and rest, and I did not event see that God wanted me there, not only for my son Ryan, but for  all of them, if nothing else, just to say “Hi, Good job.” The place went from being a loud bowling alley to the very throne room of God, I had to ask for his forgiveness for having such narrow sight and missing the bigger picture. 

How about you, how you every worked and just want to rest, when God wanted you just to be there for someone at that time? We need to remember that we do not work with our own strength, but that of the Lord, when we are tired, he will carry us on, but we must not just stop, to many people are depending on us to show them the love of Christ, even if it is to only haying Good job in a noisy bowling alley, where ever we go, we standing and an ambassador of the Lord, and we standing before him as well. May we never grow to weary to do that He has called us to do. In the words of Paul, “be all things to all people.” For His glory!

God Bless

Surrender, Never Quit

By R. Duane Cragun

I was raised by a former US Marine who served in Korea, in fact even though I knew he was wounded during that war I never know until he passed that he had been given two Purple Heart medals (I only know this after reading his discharge papers.) I tell you this because he had a saying that he would repeat often, “never surrender, never quit.” He would say this to my brother and I every time things got tough, in fact he would mumble this to himself when time’s were difficult for him as well.

I know that any role in the Ministry of Jesus the Christ can indeed be tough and I think it may even be truer for those of us that serve in smaller church settings. Often when hard times come we feel alone, we have no staff people to talk to, maybe no close fellow pastors to discuss the situation with. It can be daunting to say the least. We can’t let the congregation down, and let us not forget that we are also our families pastor, we have to be strong for them as well. “Never surrender, never quit.” This become a way of life for us even though it may be tearing us apart inside. But I have something that I hope you will consider, what if we change this old saying to something a little more biblically true. How about saying “I’ll only surrender to the Lord, then I will never give up.” What will this do for our sense of being in this alone? After all it’s not our church, but His, so if He has called us, then we are never really alone are we.

I have mentioned that I served in my past small church assignment for 10 years, some were very good years and some not, and I felt very much as if I were alone during the bad times, that was until I came to understand this point of view that I’ll only surrender to the Lord, then I will never quit. This understanding allowed me to do a few things. (1) I found an accountability partner. We need someone to open up to and also to hold us accountable to our calling. (2) It drove home that fact that the Lord go’s before me, after me and beside me. I am never alone, never left hanging and I am never out of his protection. (3) It gave me confidence to do what he has told me to do. I listen to wise counsel and gave matters much prayer, but when I sensed he will, I discovered that I had a new confidence to go forward in His name and power.

So, what does this mean for you? The same is it does for me. I am nobody special, just a man set free from his sins through the grace and blood of Christ, and called to ministry, but I offer this to you. Call upon Him, trust in Him, and He will be with you, he won’t take away the trouble all the time, but he will go through the problem with you! I offer my ear and my prayers to you if you need to talk to someone, and I know that my friend and editor of this blog will do the same, you can contact him or me at robertcragun@frontier.com if you need someone. You’re not alone my friends, the Lord is with you and so are we. Its one big team and we all belong to Him and each other.

God bless

Duane Cragun

 

(Photo via <a href=”https://www.goodfreephotos.com/”>Good Free Photos</a>)

A Living Part of Our Communities

I walk down the halls of the local school, and I think of the kids and families of my community.  We are not unique, but an average Mid-American rural community.  Yet, the people are important to me.

  My wife an I have lived just under ten years.  We have watched children grow up from elementary through college, and some we have known since they we a few hours old.  I substitute  in the local nd help our local Youth For Christ leader, and it is great to see how young people are comfortable with me many time.

I learned long ago in ministry that I have a much more interaction with my community, by simply laying aside so called planned evangelistic outreach, and living life with the people of my community.  It is my community, and that is a key to small town and rural ministry, it may take time but when you really become a part of the community ministry takes a Kore comfortable and open place.

I encourage any pastor moving into a small town to get with other ministers for support.  However, to minister to people you have to become a true part of the community.  You have to work and play with them in the everyday, and in time you will hopefully be able to show them Jesus in all you do.

          Blessings on your ministry journey

Sunday Morning & The Battle is Before us

It is Sunday morning, and after my last week I see the battle before me. I remind myself that the prophets were rejected, but they still had to go to town when God said go. Their job was to deliver God’s message. This is never an easy task. Even in the good weeks the Satan is there to try to trip us, as leaders and preachers up, as we strive to bring a message from God.

In my life during these days of “fighting the good fight” in ministry I am encouraged to hold on from God. Two verses keep coming to my heart from God.

  • 2Co 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
  • Jos 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I am reminded that first of all the battle is not mine, but His to fight. I am also reminded of God’s strength, and that He will never give more than we can bear with His strength. I may feel at the end of my rope, but God is still there for me and my family.

A friend recently told me about an old football player who said: ‘When you have given your all on the field, and men are hitting, pulling you down, and coming against you; when you feel you can’t go one more yard; just go ten more yards.’ We can’t stop moving forward in the face of resistance, for in resistance we grow stronger.

Let God be your strength today in all that you face. Trust Him. He is always there.

— Keep on your life’s journey with Jesus today.

Why Moses Held On

I am starting to realize why Moses held on. I am starting to get why he kept interceding for the people that God had put under him.

I used to read Exodus and the travel of the Israelites and think, how many times do these people have to mess things up, before a leader agrees with God, and has them all killed. Moses had the offer more than once to let them die, and start over with himself. God could have done it that way.

God was developing Moses, and He chose Moses, because of his great love for the people. Moses had the call, and even when the people struck out against him Moses was led to intercede for their lives. People can’t always comprehend the responsibility of their decisions or their actions, but as a leader we must first be led to intercede for the people of God.

I pray that God will help me to intercede even now. It hurts to be in the middle. That is what an intercede does though, they put themselves between God and humankind. We must pray, and not cease to pray, even for those who may lash out against us. Eternity is not built on the pain of the moment, but on the Grace of Forever.

— Keep on Your Journey with Jesus today.

Stand in Your Faith

1Peter 2:19-23 (NIV) “For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. “

Christ is not only our inspiration in doing good, He is our inspiration and stay when we are under attack. The world is a harsh place, and we should expect no less of a harsh treatment then the world dealt to our Lord. This is not an easy way, but I have watched spiritual leaders and spiritual people take blows for what God is leading them to do. I have seen some respond in love and patiently endure. I have seen others lash out and fight back. Christ prayed for those attacking Him. We must listen and we must pray for those who attack, for it is not they who are the enemy, but it is the work of the evil one to spread destruction.

People are not the enemy we fight, but as Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12-13:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

I pray that no matter what God is doing in your life today, you will be able to stand. Be on your guard, and stand firm in Christ who gives you the ability to stand.

Keep on your journey with Jesus today

Don’t Get Caught in Depression


Spiritual oppression can be a very serious thing. Sometimes life can get us down and push in upon us to the point where we almost feel alone and deserted. In the book of Job, chapter 11, we see Job reminded that hope is fully in God. Even in the toughest times God is there to help us along the way.

Depression and oppression are very similar and both affect the other. When we are depressed it opens us up for spiritual attack, and the opposite as well. However, if we learn to turn it around, by seeking Christ we will overcome.

I am not saying there are not times of sadness, even Solomon notes the seasons of life in Ecclesiastes 3 and some of those seasons are mourning. We just can not let ourselves become locked in this destructive place of loneliness.

A good friend recently shared the reminder that “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” This means instead of sulking in destructive depression, we should find ways to celebrate and break the depressive hold on our hearts. I think he is really onto something there.

So, remember that if life has you down today you are never alone, because God is with you. God loves each of us very much, and our strength is in the joy He has for us every moment of every day.

– Keep on your journey with Jesus today.