Ministry Miseries or Pastoral Pleasures

Have you noticed the Ministry Misery writing genre that’s proving strangely popular in some circles?

Pastors try to outdo one another in painting ministry in general, and themselves in particular, in as dismal and depressing a light as they possibly can.

There are usually two recurring memes:

(1) Ministers are more evil than you can possibly imagine. I’m more hypocritical, more devious, and more selfish than Hitler, Saddam, and Osama put together. To prove it let me tell you about how bad a father, a husband, and a pastor I am. Again and again and again.

(2) The ministry is more evil than you can possibly imagine. You’ve no idea how hard it is to be a pastor. So much suffering, so much persecution, so much giving, and all for so little return.

Misery, misery, misery. Sometimes it appears that the worse they describe themselves and their work, the more popular the articles seem to be. Lots of other pastors chime in with “I’m even worse than that…and so’s my congregation.”

Is this some kind of perverse Reformed monkishness that enjoys very public and painful self-flaggelation? Is there something especially holy and admirable about this activity?

I know there’s a danger of pride in ministers, and we need to strip away the illusions of pastoral glamor lest naive young men are attracted to it for the wrong reasons, but come on guys, we’re not totally evil and neither is our work. People are not lying when they say, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace” (Rom. 10:15)?

We are ambassadors for Christ with a high and noble calling. While every job has its thorns and thistles, there’s huge satisfaction and pleasure too. Usually there are far more positives than negatives. Can there be anything more enjoyable than preaching the Gospel, evangelizing the lost, pastoring needy sinners, equipping saints for works of service, and helping saints on their way to glory?

Let’s get a better balance in our view of God’s work in us, through us, and around us. And let’s have more articles and books on Pastoral Pleasures and less on Ministry Miseries

It’s a few years old now, but here’s a starter on the joys I’ve experienced in my own ministry.

Feb 18 2009 Murray Chapel from Puritan Reformed on Vimeo.


Check out

How rejection breeds creativity
Tim had a good piece on this yesterday too: The Joy of Rejection.

Father defends tough love email he sent to his children
And here’s the original email in full.

From radical Islam to Christ
My whole family were enthralled by this wonderful video testimony last week.

On Sermon Introductions
If his sermons are as good as his homiletics, he’ll be well worth a listen.

How to guard Sabbath for your children
Jen Wilkins with some great questions to help you lead your family.

You need to receive Jesus, again


Paul Washer Interview

Download here.

After a brief Connected Kingdom interlude while Tim went on his world tour, we return this week with a Paul Washer interview. We talk about his new book, his ministry, and also the Shocking Youth Message that has in many ways come to define him and his ministry. Here is a short index to our conversation (which lasts about 25 minutes):

  • 1.00 Why did you write your new book, The Gospel’s Power and Message.
  • 2.30 Who is Paul Washer the person? Conversion, family, hobbies, calling to mission work, etc.
  • 7.30 What have you learned through your wife’s protracted illness?
  • 8.30 Present work is training and supporting 175 missionaries among unreached people groups.
  • 10.15 What’s the greatest need of the church in India?
  • 11.35 How has that “Shocking Youth Message” changed your life?
  • 16.00 What is Gospel reductionism and what are its fruits?
  • 20.00 Has the Gospel-centered movement helped the church?
  • 22.45 What would be your 2 minute message to pastors about building positively for the future?

If you would like to give us feedback or join in the discussion, go ahead and look up our Facebook Group or leave a comment right here. You will always be able to find the most recent episode here on the blog. If you would like to subscribe via iTunes, you can do that here or if you want to subscribe with another audio player, you can try this RSS link.


Check out

The problem of pornography
Heath Lambert on why it’s wrong and how to help.

Favorite Puritan Paperbacks
Sinclair Ferguson, Carl Trueman, and Mark Dever make their choices.

The Credal Imperative
Joey Cochran interviews Carl Trueman.

Three dangers of being crazy busy
Totally identified with Kevin DeYoung here: “Busyness is like sin: kill it or it will be killing you.”

10 mistakes in preaching narratives
Sounds a bit negative but if you reverse them into positives, you’ll get some practical help.

Holy Days and Holidays
A Presbyterian pastor explains why he does not observe Christmas in church but has a Christmas tree in his home!


Westminster Skeletons (2): Confession of Faith Outlines

After supplying 70 teaching outlines on the Westminster Shorter Catechism yesterday, I thought I should go the whole way and just make available my teaching outlines on the Westminster Confession as well.

The text of the confession appears on the left side of the page and the outlines are lined up on the facing page.

I have followed the original text of 1646, from the manuscript of Cornelius Burges, Assessor to the Westminster Assembly, as published in the modern critical edition of 1937 by S. W. Carruthers. In order to increase this booklet’s usefulness in America, I have footnoted the most significant revisions made by the OPC, the PCA, the ARP and the RPCNA

Due to formatting issues, this is only available in pdf format. Again, feel free to adapt. I’m not bothered about having my name attached to these, but if you do use my name, just be sure to clearly distinguish your contribution from my own work.

Westminster Skeletons (2): Teaching Outlines on the Westminster Confession of Faith


Check out

Twitter’s Blissful Chaos
Insightful article on the role and significance of Twitter. “Social media, primarily Facebook and Twitter, are increasingly influential in the world of journalism and public debate, although my own anecdotal observation is that Facebook remains a place primarily for social friendship while Twitter is where the real wars are fought.”

Anxiety and the Battle for the Mind
Diane Bucknell, who blogs at Theology for Girls, with a helpful discussion of anxiety and depression. What’s medical and what’s spiritual?

18 Facts about China that will blow your mind
As one Superpower wanes another is rising in the East.

How to practice Sunday’s sermon on Monday
Reddit Andrews with a game plan for God’s Word.

8 Surprises of Biblical Counseling
David Powlison: “When our counseling is working, doing its job, those whom we counsel will normally encounter some of the following surprises.”

100 Quotes on Leadership