Jump directly to the Content


Boundaries can lengthen and strengthen your ministry.

Desperate, Pastor Gary Stiles slouched on the sofa in my office.

"Dr. Blackmon, our ship is sinking, and if we don't get help fast, we're going under!"

Gary's wife, Sue, sat nearby, crying softly. As their story tumbled out, I felt the pressure of their sleepless nights and 80-hour work weeks.

"Our ministry no longer has any joy or meaning," Gary sputtered.

In twenty years of ministry, they had toiled faithfully in three congregations. Their ministry was acclaimed widely as a success.

In the last year, however, their church had begun to criticize them. Feelings of inadequacy and fatigue began to fester. They buried their pain, keeping their confusion and struggles secret. With nowhere to turn, they desperately needed a confidant.

"I guess my fire has gone out," explained Gary. "Now I'm either angry at every little thing or so tired I can't stand the thought of helping one more person.

"At first I thought if I just worked harder I could turn things around. But that isn't working. Now our marriage ...

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.

From Issue:Winter 1993: Conflict
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

God's Simple Answer
God's Simple Answer
One of my favorite indulgences, which I treat myself to a few times a year, is Real Simple magazine. I find it somewhat ironic that a magazine about simplicity has slick ads for so much stuff, but it's still a fun magazine to read.
From the Magazine
Before I Got Saved, I Got Shipped Off and Strung Out
Before I Got Saved, I Got Shipped Off and Strung Out
First came Vietnam, then drug addiction. Somehow, God helped me survive.
Editor's Pick
What We Lose When We Livestream
What We Lose When We Livestream
Do our online viewers truly realize what they’re missing?