Jump directly to the Content

How to Minister Without Applause

God is gracious. Can I be content with that?
How to Minister Without Applause
Image: shironosov

After serving thirteen years in the youth ministry at Grace Chapel, I became minister of missions. As my youth ministry ended, I thought, Now the letters of affirmation will pour in.

The students and youth staff put on a wonderful appreciation night and gave my wife and me a generous gift. Then it was over. During the next three months, two notes poured in. I relearned the lesson that my desire for public affirmation will always exceed the supply.

If I asked people at my church, "Do you love me?" they would give me a Fiddler-on-the-Roof response: "For all these years we've tolerated your jokes, paid you a salary, approved your budgets, given you an office, watched you grow up — what do you mean, 'Do you love me?' "

I know the people at Grace Chapel love me — like a family. And like a family they don't express it as often as I would like. Like many associate staff and long-term senior pastors, I sometimes feel like a plumbing fixture — ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

The Missional Mindset
The Missional Mindset
Reggie McNeal calls for the church to rethink itself.
From the Magazine
They Fled Ukraine, and Ukraine Followed
They Fled Ukraine, and Ukraine Followed
Escaping Russian missiles, some exiled believers found a new sense of purpose helping refugees.
Editor's Pick
When Churches Put Love at the Center
When Churches Put Love at the Center
How "beloved community" helps us envision tangible ways to embody kingdom values.