As I write this, I’m sitting on a plane returning from a one-day event for pastors our team had the opportunity to host in Greenville, SC.
And I’m encouraged.
We spent the day with about 50 pastors, working through some practical steps to structure our ministries for growth. Previously, we’ve had the opportunity to walk through the same material with over 300 pastors at various events around the country.
You see, there’s a lot of negative perspectives out there. There’s a lot of talk about how churches are dying. There’s a lot of talk about how pastors are quitting. And to be fair, those things certainly are true.
But as we get to work with pastors every week, we get to see a lot of positive things happening.
We get to see the hard work pastors are putting in. We get to see the desire to change to reach their communities. We get to see the strong passion for the message of Jesus. We get to see churches reinvigorated, leaders encouraged, unhealthy structures challenged, and, in turn, lives changed forever.
And that encourages me.
Here at 95Network, our team talks a lot about where the Church (particularly in America) is headed. And collectively, we wholeheartedly believe that God is preparing His Church for one of the most incredible works any of us have ever seen.
Pastors are structuring for growth. Congregations are pursuing health. Leadership is getting stronger. Ministry methods are changing. Traditions are being challenged. Mission is rediscovered. Vision is defined. Disciples are being made. The Church is getting healthier.
Think back to what Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 16:18: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Nothing will prevail against the body of Christ. Our God instituted the Church for a purpose. And He desires for that purpose to be accomplished far more than any of us do.
Pastor, I just want to encourage you today. Our Savior cares about you and He cares about the church you shepherd. He sees you. He’s still the Provider. He’s still the Sustainer. And the Helper is still with us.
Ministry is hard. There are seasons where it takes everything we have to keep going. But if there’s one thing that I know: Pursuing health as a church is an effort that will not go without a return.
So please don’t give up. Please don’t lose hope. Please don’t ever believe the lie that your ministry doesn’t matter. Whether your church has 20 people, 50 people, or 200 people, you are making an eternal difference.
Austin is the Managing Director here at 95Network. From Normal, IL, Austin gets that ministry can sometimes feel anything but “normal.” He grew up leading in the small church his dad pastored, and has since served on the launch teams for two church plants. He holds a Communications degree from Moody Bible Institute and is passionate about seeing churches grow healthier and make a difference in their communities. Austin and his wife, Larisa, reside near Peoria, IL.