I’m writing this because that season feels like it’s over. There was a sense of overlapping, simultaneous tragedies, where wherever we turned, all we could see was someone crying. This morning, it feels that life has moved back into a more normal season, where pastoral issues come singly. They will come again, but probably not in chorus.
Well, that was fierce!
The blog has been quiet for a few weeks, because we have just passed through one of the most draining seasons of ministry I’ve ever experienced. A series of major church funerals, two of which were preceded by unforeseeable tragedy, horrific traumas around an accident for yet another family, a precious and valuable group of our members struggling with other repeated shocks, and the funeral of a friend. I’ve learnt about leading and preaching at a funeral for and with adults with learning disabilities. I’ve watched a family discover unknown grandchildren and great grandchildren, days before death. I’ve had to step up to some personal family responsibility too. And all the while, preaching through Romans 8.
This wasn’t just being busy; this was a series of simultaneous responsibilities with a major price tag, and a lot of grieving people.
I used to say when I was teaching in seminary, that no case study I could imagine would prepare the students for the wild reality of actual church life. Well, I was right. There’s stuff I’m not mentioning in that list which would raise your eyebrows several notches even further.
So how to survive ministry intensity? Here are 11 tips, straight from the front line.