Maintaining Hope in Ministry
Maintaining Hope in Ministry

Compiled by Justin Horey

Easter is a season of hope. The resurrection promises that God’s power triumphs over darkness. But the crucifixion reminds us that God “did not spare his own Son” from pain during his earthly ministry. Jesus faced discouragement, disbelief, and disloyalty, yet he remained “obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

We all face difficulties in ministry. Even at Easter—or perhaps, especially at Easter—we struggle with “trials of many kinds.” In our weakness, it can be difficult to maintain hope. This Easter season, we asked Christian Standard readers for practical answers to one question:

 

When you face discouragement or even defeat, how do you maintain hope in ministry?

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What gives me hope is knowing God does not want anyone to perish but wants all to come to repentance. Regardless of any discouragement I feel, I ask God for the perseverance to keep going in order to see one more soul brought to faith in Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9).

Mike Maiolo
Mission Viejo Christian Church
Mission Viejo, CA

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I have a four-page document of Scripture “reminders” that helps me focus on God’s guidance, promises, and hope.

Glen Copple
Northside Christian Church
Lakeland, FL

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I remember those who have gone before me, starting with the prophets in the Old Testament and then to my personal heroes of the faith who were my mentors.

Gary E. Fenner
Pleasureville Christian Church
Pleasureville, KY

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Although I get discouraged, I see the things that cause discouragement as initiated by the devil in order to get me to quit. Not wanting Satan to win, I continue to persevere with the Lord’s help. These spiritual tests just make me more determined to serve God and “preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2).

John Owston
Belvue Christian Church
Kingsport, TN

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I have found peace and hope emerge in serving others. When I give freely, unconditionally, and sacrificially—time, talent, or treasure—I rediscover my purpose in Christ. Purpose seeds peace, and hope is the fruit.

Rick Chromey
MANNA! Educational Services International
Meridian, ID

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I try not to talk with people who discourage, and find myself reaching out to those whom I know are encouraging.

Robert Szoke
Impact Christian Church
Merrillville, IN

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I meet with my 15-member “Dream Team” for wisdom, balance, and encouragement.

Bryce Jessup
William Jessup University
Rocklin, CA

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Hope grows when I see people’s joy in meeting Jesus for the first time. Hope grows when I hug my family, especially my grandkids. Hope grows when I deliberately choose to move toward Jesus. Hope grows when I focus on the unseen and eternal.

Jeff Metzger
River Hills Christian Church
Cincinnati, OH

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I look to my husband and father-in-law to speak into my life and remind me why we are doing what we do—sacrificing for the bigger church and God’s ministry. I take comfort in knowing that a ministry is bigger than the people behind it, so, whatever their issues, God can use or overcome them in order to advance his kingdom.

Melinda Johnson
Indian Creek Christian Church
Indianapolis, IN

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I remember 1 John 1:5. By leaning on God, we will get through the troubling times. He is our hope.

Rolland Clem
Riverside Christian Church
Antwerp, OH

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I have a best friend—fellow preacher, college roommate—in whom I can confide, and I know he prays for me. I learned from my dad and mom to hand over all things to the Lord in prayer and trust him to bring us through any difficulty. I try to look for good in every situation, knowing the Lord has promised to work all things for good for those who love him and are called for his purpose.

Dennis Dawes
Central Church of Christ
Portsmouth, OH

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I think back on the times when I went through discouragement and remember that God was with me during those difficult times, and eventually, things got better. It’s good to review his faithfulness in my life. Also, I try to reflect on the message of Philippians 4:8, so that I don’t allow negative thoughts to dominate me.

Lee Robison
Sarasota Christian Church
Sarasota, FL

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I remember that loss (as well as victory) is the Lord’s. I am his steward and not his equal. When facing defeat (or the illusion of defeat) in ministry that is not a result of my sin, I am reminded that it is God’s and not mine. When I am faithful and things don’t work out as I had hoped, I let God worry about it and figure it out (figuratively speaking of course).

Aaron Shouey
2|42 Community Church
Saginaw, MI

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I reach out to peers and ask about what recent “wins” they’ve had. Then I celebrate with them. It reminds me that despite losing a battle, together we’re still winning the war (Ephesians 6).

George Johnson
Christian Evangelistic Association
Seattle, WA

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By remembering that God is here and he is in control, he is still on his throne, and that we mainly are planting the seeds. He will make the increase.

Becky Melton
Bayou George Christian Church
Panama City, FL

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I open my Bible and look at Elijah and then Paul. Elijah was a man who saw the greatest of God, but he also got down and defeated. He wanted to quit and die. God had different plans for him. Paul tells us, “Therefore we do not lose heart.” We will get discouraged, but God will never leave us nor forsake us. My hope and salvation are through Jesus Christ, and I know he lives.

Chad Holcomb
Lamar Christian Church
Baldwin, GA

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By taking time off just to relax, by speaking with a best friend who is also a full-time counselor, by spending time with my wife and my family, [and by] being honest with my elders so they can pray for me.

John Puckett
State Line Christian Church
Paris, IL

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I don’t let myself be discouraged for more than an hour. I give myself that much time to have a “pity party,” and then I pick up and go on.

Victor Knowles
Peace on Earth Ministries
Joplin, MO

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I remember that I am not alone. Even Jesus had trouble during his ministry.

Earl Winfrey
First Christian Church
Greenwood, SC

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When I get discouraged, it helps to ask, “What would I have if I quit—if I gave up?” And, the answer is, “nothing.” It’s like an open-water swim in a triathlon. It gets intimidating. You get tired. But if you give up, you drown. So, I keep swimming.

Keith Wishum
Williams Road Church
Americus, GA

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I have a close band of brothers who support and encourage me, which is priceless.

David Roadcup
Cincinnati Christian University
Cincinnati, OH

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Always, as soon as I can, I get up, dust off, and do something new, constructive, and/or something outside the box. Get a feeling of accomplishment. Get something positive achieved.

Ross Wissmann
Swannanoa Christian Church
Swannanoa, NC

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I look to the past to remember how God has been faithful.

Mike Schrage
Good News Productions International
Joplin, MO

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[With the help of] my faithful friends, who love me and stand by me no matter what.

Jeff Greene
Kentucky Christian University
Grayson, KY

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