How to Carry on and Not Quit

How to Carry On and Not Quit
By Gary Moritz
Article featured in The Revitalization Magazine 

In ministry, you are going to experience highs and lows and everything in between. Let’s
face it, some days being a pastor just stinks. The struggles that ministry brings, and
these difficult days and times can make you want to quit and give up. However, you
must develop the discipline to persevere. You may find yourself asking the question,
“Why do I keep doing this?” “Why don’t I just quit!” During these times of despair, you
need to remember that discipline builds perseverance and resilience.

God is writing His story through your life. Your life is His narrative. Each experience you
go through matters to God. These experiences will be great victories, accomplishments,
and miracles that you saw God do in your ministry. They may be tough times that you
endured that only after time you see how God worked through the pain and suffering.
God will build resilience in you because He knows how much you can endure.
I have the privilege of talking with many church revitalizers. The most common
revitalization question I have been asked is, “Should I walk away from this church, this
community, and people?” I believe this question is asked out of a sense of doubt and the
temptation to quit. Some common themes have surfaced after digging in during these
conversations to get to the root of the doubt and questioning. Let’s look at the
temptations that cause church revitalization pastors to quit.

Most pastors that think about quitting face an overwhelming sense of frustration, the
heavy costs of ministry, a lack of stamina and fatigue, constant conflict, and

Revitalizers want to quit because they feel frustrated with a church that does not desire
to change or is more concerned about control rather than growth. The emphasis is
placed on meetings rather than people. Pastors are sick of the church pride battles and
serving under governing boards of people who haven’t been called to lead a church and
are not doing anything other than saying no to everything. Instead of fulfilling the
kingdom mindset, the church is filled with gossip, bickering, and committees that fight
over stupid stuff. No pastor wants this for their church. The easy out is to walk away out of frustration and instead be a part of a life-giving church and what appears to be a better situation. Pastors feel frustrated when they feel as if they are powerless to move the church
forward. Just remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side, and there are
frustrations in every ministry, not just yours.

The Heavy Costs of Ministry
At some point, every pastor starts to think about the cost of ministry. I am not talking
about financial costs. I am talking about the cost to life, time, energy, focus, family, and
your physical, spiritual, and mental health. Revitalizers want to quit because of the high
personal cost they have had to pay to stay in ministry and keep a church moving toward
health and vitality. Revitalization pastors are gifted and have a good heart, but because
of low pay, long hours, and dealing with the dysfunctions of a ministry in trouble, they
begin to wither away. The physical, mental, and spiritual toll of revitalization is
challenging, and it can give rise to the temptation to walk away. This is where your
tactical resilience comes in. You must train for the pain so that you can endure it. If
Satan cannot disqualify you through other means, he will do his best to wear you out so
that you eventually become ineffective.

Lack of Stamina and Fatigue
I have found that the first five years of church revitalization are exhausting. And
something happened when I turned forty-five years old. I seem to have less energy and
stamina. I may be more innovative, wiser, and more experienced, but I don’t have the
stamina I had when I first started ministry. I fondly remember my early days in ministry
as a young youth pastor. But I can’t do all-nighters as I did back then and then get up on
Sunday morning and lead worship for three services. I can’t eat a whole pizza and still
feel good at bedtime. My body can’t take it.

Satan will tempt you to quit when you are exhausted. You need to listen to your body
and take your limitations seriously. As you get older and spend more time in ministry,
your focus shifts from trying to be good and doing everything to becoming a specialist
and good at a few things. If you are doing everything and your schedule is wearing you
out, it is time to start delegating and giving stuff away. Maybe it’s time to reprioritize
your calendar and schedule and stop doing some things. You need to take time to rest
and recuperate. If you don’t do it, your body will more than likely force you to do it.
Spend some time sitting at the feet of Jesus and ask Him what you need to change. Ask
Him to restore your energy and passion for His work.

Constant Conflict
Conflict will take you completely by surprise. Conflict can arise over music, Bible
versions, doctrine, preferences, dress, denominations, pride, service times, pews, chairs,
the sermon is too long, the sermon is too short, and the list goes on and on. As pastors,
we are constantly dealing with conflict. Pastors are often ill-prepared to deal with the
barrage of conflict within and without the church. Whether you have been trained in it
or not, it’s time to take the bull by the horn and deal with it. Start reading everything you
can about good conflict resolution skills so that you can learn how to deal with the
conflict instead of letting it consume your life and cause you to want to quit.

Sometimes pastors don’t have a choice in leaving the ministry. They must quit because
of something that has disqualified them to serve as a pastor, a shepherd of a group of
people. These situations are awful for everyone involved. This is where your
accountability must come into play.

Set up safeguards in your life to protect you from your weaknesses. If pride is your
weakness, have people in your life who will not be afraid to confront you when they see
it start to swell up in you. If sexual temptation is a problem, make sure that your spouse
has access to your calendar and all your devices and accounts, and encourage them to
check on you often. Put safeguards on your devices and work hard to overcome sexual
temptation. If money could potentially be your downfall, put safeguards in place with
your leadership team so that there can be no question of impropriety within your
church. Whatever your weakness is, do whatever it takes to address it. Don’t give Satan a
foothold because it won’t take long for him to get a chokehold on you. Don’t let Satan
take you out.

If you are thinking about quitting, don’t. From one pastor to another, don’t do it unless
God has clearly and confidently called you to leave. Seek help and stay in the fight.

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