7 Questions to Defeat Discouragement

Discouragement and ministry go hand in hand. I say this after almost 40 years in ministry. Maybe just reading these words discourage you. I hope not because you can defeat discouragement.

The Go Commission Defeat Discouragement

This Classic Content Repost originally appeared on The Pastor’s Mastermind. Photo by whoislimos on Unsplash

So, a while back I was at a large gathering of pastors and church leaders. It was a good day. I learned some things, caught up with some old friends, and left feeling encouraged.

But, I left bothered by one thing.

Two of my friends, within minutes of each other, told me that they were discouraged. I understood because I’ve been there, too. Discouragement comes to all of us. Dan Rockwell wrote, “People who don’t get discouraged aren’t human. That’s probably true. I know that people who don’t get discouraged aren’t pastors.

The good news is that you can defeat discouragement.

Answering these six questions might help you.

Why is this bothering me so much?

Be honest with yourself and get to the root cause. Often it really isn’t what you think at first. But, you are unlikely to defeat your discouragement until you really understand why you are experiencing it.

What is God teaching me?

Discouragement is painful. But, God is at work in your life in spite of the pain. He doesn’t waste it. Speak a simple prayer and wait for His answer. Mine goes something like “God, what are you teaching me about my discouragement?”

Who can I talk to about my discouragement?

You don’t have to be alone. Reach out to a trusted friend or mentor and tell them what you are feeling. Ask them to pray with you. They will help.

Help carry each other’s burdens. – Galatians 6:2 (GW)

Starting now, what will you do that makes a change in your mood?

Change up your routine. Do something fun. Get out of town for a day. It’s amazing what a small shift in our outer environment can give new perspective.

When will I quit stewing over this?

I remember that someone once said to set a time limit hen we are depressed. The same idea can work for discouragement.

I like what Jon Bloom wrote about lingering in discouragement:

“If we linger in discouragement it can be costly. Its sense of defeat and hopelessness saps us of energy and vision. It can consume a lot of time. It can keep us from doing what we need to do because we don’t want to face it. And it can even be contagious, weakening others’ faith.”

What can I say to myself that will shift my thinking?

Self-talk is powerful. Writing and repeating a short mantra can help you redirect your thoughts from discouragement.

Robert H. Schuller was a master at this. Maybe this one can help you overcome your mountain of discouragement.

“When faced with a mountain, I WILL NOT QUIT! I will keep on striving until I climb over, find a pass through, tunnel underneath, or simply stay and turn the mountain into a gold mine with God’s help!”

I hope these six questions help you defeat discouragement. I’m sure you have some good ideas that would help all of us. Would you post a comment here or in The Go Commission Facebook Group?


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5 Things I Wish I Had Known

There are so many things I wish I had known when I began ministry. All I knew about ministry was from watching and working with my pastor. He was very open to helping me and gave me opportunities to serve. But, most of my training came on the job.

I Wish I Had Known. Skills for Ministry. The Go Commission

The list of things that I wish I had known could be very long. Here are some that bubble to the top of the list.

5 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Began Ministry

1. How to Define and Cast Vision

This wasn’t taught as part of my preparation for ministry. I am still learning how to do it well.

2. How to Engage with the Community

The only thing I knew about engaging the community was to take evangelistic surveys at the mall. I learned this during my Evangelism Explosion training. Otherwise, I waited for people to show up at church.

3. How to Develop Leaders

Evangelism Explosion training was a good model for preparing new evangelists. New trainees were always paired with experienced people. The curriculum was well defined. I should have applied those principles to every area of the church.

4. How to Plan and Set Goals

I was introduced to the Pastor’s Planning Workbooks from the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth early in my ministry. They helped me to start setting a foundation for goal setting and planning.

Here are links to the workbooks. I am sharing them with the assumption that they are out of print. Please contact me if this is not true.

Pastor’s Planning Workbook 1

Pastor’s Planning Workbook 2

Pastor’s Planning Workbook 3

Pastor’s Planning Workbook 4

5. How to Manage My Time

I am forever thankful to Pastor Forrest Plants for taking me the Managing Your Time Seminar by World Vision. It was the only time I heard Ted Engstrom in person. The opening lecture was Time Is Life.

Take Time to Work – It is the Price of Success

Take Time to Think – It is the Source of Power

Take Time to Play – It is the Secret of Perpetual Youth

Take Time to Read – It is the Fountain of Wisdom

Take Time to be Friendly – It is the Road to Happiness

Take Time to Dream – It is Hitching Your Wagon to a Star

Take Time to Love and be Loved – It is the Privilege of Redeemed People

Take Time to Look Around – It is Too Short a Day to be Selfish

Take Time for God! – It is Life’s Only Lasting Investment

No one ever fully learns these skills. They grow with experience. I hope this will help you think through some of the skills that you can develop.

What do you wish you had known when you began your ministry?

Comment below or on the Facebook Page.