In a discussion with other pastor-types recently, the topic rolled around to the state of our souls. "I don't mean to whine," said one of us (who shall remain nameless, though I'm certain it wasn't I), "but I actually found it easier to pursue spiritual health when I was not in ministry." Almost everyone agreed: we felt hurried, overloaded, drained, and often taken for granted.

This wasn't the first conversation I'd heard along these lines. We often talk as if working at a church gets in the way of living the gracious, winsome life Jesus calls us to. After a while the question is bound to surface: What is happening when involvement in "ministry" seems to produce less spiritually vital people?

I had breakfast recently with a friend whose father has ministered in Christian circles for close to fifty years. His dad said to him recently, "Well, son, we'll have to get together soon, as soon as I can get my schedule under control." His son commented: "For all thirty-nine years of my life, my dad ...

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