Staying is hard when life is difficult. But it’s also hard to stay when ministry is boring even if the church is thriving. But staying is worth it. Staying in a church isn’t easy during hard days and boring days. Staying even during successful days takes courage and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
“Lord, please give me the courage to stay here as long as you’d have me stay.”
I began praying that prayer not long after coming to Malvern Hill Baptist Church. In the early days of my ministry, that prayer came about as a result of struggle and strife that were often present in our church.
Staying When It’s Hard
Our church had a history of short-tenured pastors. Therefore, I prayed God would give me the courage to stay as long as He would have me, even if it was hard. I prayed I could stand up against the nay-sayers, the critics, and the people who didn’t want me there.
But I also prayed I could have the courage to love people who weren’t sure if they could trust a pastor since every other pastor had been a short-timer. I prayed God would give me the courage to endure the hard days.
Interestingly, the prayer I began praying over eleven years ago is the same prayer I continue to use today.
The circumstances have changed, but the prayer has remained the same. Back then, I prayed God would give me the courage to stay when times were hard.
Staying When It’s Boring
As the years progressed, the situation changed, but the prayer stayed the same. I needed the courage to stay when things got really good and when they got very boring.
I don’t ever remember learning that a healthy church may go through a very boring stage. But that was our experience.