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Occupational Hazards

The occupational hazard of the Christian ministry and evangelism is discouragement.
John R. W. Stott
Those whom the Lord has destined for this great office he previously provides with the armor which is requisite for the discharge of it, that they may not come empty and unprepared.
John Calvin

For a year now I have been talking with pastors from across the country about the joys and the discouragements of their ministries. I have sat in the offices of dozens of these church leaders and read surveys from nearly two hundred more.

With some, I have been privileged to share in the high point of their ministries. "After ten years in ministry," wrote one, "my greatest sense of encouragement has come this year. I'm enjoying ministry." I've seen others in deep crevices: "I've never been so discouraged," said a minister in his forties. "This week I sent out twenty-two résumés."

What news can I report from the armloads of surveys and hours of tape?

A combination of good news and bad news.

First, the good ...

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