Pastors, when was the last time you thought about how feeling scared affects your ministry?
My partner and I came across this interesting concept while planning the curriculum for our most recent training course; The Lost Generation, 8 Shocking Reasons Millennials Are Leaving The Church And How You Can Win Them Back. As we were going through that content, we realized that most churches are failing to engage the next generation because of one significant reason.
That reason is fear.
Many pastors are afraid to change the church in ways that will better engage the next generation. It's a challenging situation, but a question that deserves to be wrestled with. The immediate focus with most churches centers around how change will impact the generation they're currently serving. As my team brainstormed ways to help pastors communicate effectively with the next generation, we realized that many of you are held back by fear.
I can relate to that, because I sometimes feel fear within my own work at 24toDouble.
Your Fear, My Fear, It's All The Same Fear
When I teach something, I try to ask myself; am I living this out, or am I hung up somewhere?
Now, I've never been a Pastor. The mission of the organization I work with, 24toDouble, is to train Pastors. My work specifically focuses on bringing the message out to you. While I've never been on staff at a church and my job is different than yours, we both face similar challenges. We are trying to reach people who don't know us.
Not only do they not know us, but they already have a top-down idea about who we are. When people see your messages, they already have a preconceived notion about what you're offering them. Whether or not their judgment about you and your church is correct, many people will simply pass on by. They don't come to church because they've been to church, and it takes a lot to get them to listen to something new.
When I ask you the question, ‘Pastor, are you scared?' I have to ask myself that, too. Often, that question leads me to two additional questions: What am I scared of, and what is fear keeping me from doing?
How Fear Holds You Back From Your Calling
In the last five years, I've personally spent a lot of time behind the scenes. I have been in 100s of churches, worked as a church consultant, and was on teams responsible for the construction of six church buildings. However, I've never been on staff at a church. I've never been a Pastor.
I have battled fear caused by that one fact, always thinking that I might be disqualified from serving you because I've never held a staff position at a church. That fear, that limiting idea, has kept me from serving you. That thought held me back from doing what I'm doing right now, which is livestreaming and producing content. Even though I strive to create content that encourages, motivates, and offers practical teachings for Pastors, I've been held back because I was afraid and unsure of what I really had to bring to the table.
It took a lot of effort, but I have found ways to win against that fear that has held me back in the past. Now, I am about to pour out everything that I know to you. In doing so, I hope to add value and help you reach people who are far from God, but right outside the doors of your church.
No matter how radically different your story is from mine, I know that you're viewing this content because there is something God is calling you to do. Unfortunately, you've got something I like to call the Moses Complex.
Basically, you know you're being called, but you've got the stiff arm out. God is begging us to do something, but we keep resisting, or questioning, or doubting. When you're feeling this way, there's only one first step in the right direction that you can make.
Get on your knees and pray that out. Fear is the enemy. It exists to steal, kill, and destroy the very purpose that God put you here to accomplish, and I can prove that, too.
2 Tim 1:7 God has not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.
Here's The Math On How To Beat Fear
Feeling Fear = NOT GOD!
Fear is the enemy that is whispering negativity into you. When you experience fear, it means that you are not experiencing God. If you feel loving, powerful, and of sound mind; then that is what God has put on your heart. That is how you know you're on the right path.
What is the next big thing coming in your church? It could be anything; a goal, an event, a big move. What is the prevailing emotion when you contemplate your ‘next big thing'?
Is it power? Love? A sound mind?
Or, is it fear?
That's a really important thing to know. All of the doubting, worrying, and fearfulness that invades your mind could be a demon of fear, persistently reminding you, ‘You can't because…‘. Suddenly that fear is holding you back from what God is begging you to do.
Fear In Many Forms
An interesting part of this concept is that the word ‘fear' can be changed out with many other negative emotions. All of them are hindering you from accomplishing your soul purpose and divine mission.
God has not given us a spirit of envy. While it might be natural for humans to compare themselves to others, especially if the others are slightly ahead in some way, it's not healthy to hold on to envy for long. It eats away at your heart and diverts attention from your purpose.
God has not given us a spirit of inadequacy. Pastor, not only are you adequate, you are more than adequate. God's love is sufficient for us. Know that, whatever you're bringing to the table, when you match that with God; you're more than enough.
God has not given us a spirit of regret. It does not matter where you have been. Everything you've experienced has been in preparation for where God wants to take you. Be grateful for those experiences, because true growth happens when you get stuck.
If You Feel Stuck In Fear; Do This
Here's the last part of our math equation about fear.
Feeling power, love, and of sound mind = EXPERIENCING GOD
If you feel stuck right now, there is one really great thing you can do to bring yourself back to the light. When you feel like you've hit rock bottom, look around and clean something up. Inevitably, there will be someone else around you who is also stuck. Help them get unstuck. When you help people, you inadvertently let the holy spirit coach you by using your own voice.
Bring yourself back to the fundamentals of faith often. Ask yourself, am I connecting with God? Is my heart fertile?
Usually, when I'm stuck, those things aren't there. That's when I tap into the parts of my life where I do feel power, love, and of sound mind. I take time to myself and feel God giving me those experiences. Usually, I find that feeling stuck is simply a frame of mind, and I typically follow the same process of getting unstuck each time. Journal your journey to getting unstuck. It'll help you get to know yourself better.
We have a choice to live in fear, or to tap into the most powerful force. This force created the universe, and you've got that available today. Pastors, there's no reason to fear.