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THE PASTOR AS SURVIVALIST

How to make do when your church has less than enough.

March 1988. Arlington Heights, Illinois. After eight and a half years in a home-missions church in Chicago, I am three months into a new ministry with a church of forty. It is night, and my wife is asleep. As my bare feet pace the bedroom floor, worries wear a path in my mind: With $600 of monthly support from another church, we're still going in the hole. In three months that support drops to $200. At the end of the year, zip. We hit the wall in four months unless we grow!

I am not praying. This is hard-core anxiety. I dread the thought of packing and moving again. Although, we could stop renting in the school, maybe move the office to my basement; and if Nancy found a job, or if we sold equipment . . .

Survival. For half of my thirteen years in the ministry, that has been the issue. Occasionally I have felt desperate, at times doomed, up to my ears in quicksand. Talking to other pastors, I often find them concerned not with lofty goals and expansion, but with outliving a vote of confidence, ...

July/August
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