Tag Archives: Phil Engelman

Church Pastors and Holiday Weekends

Some occupations involve experiencing life in a way that is different from that of the general public.  This is certainly true for church pastors, and holiday weekends are a great example.

For most people, a holiday weekend is something to look forward to.  It represents time off, a chance to be with family and friends, a day to relax or maybe do some traveling.  To church pastors, holiday weekends may be anything but.  For a church pastor, it might mean any of the following:

A weekend with low Sunday attendance – Many of the faithful could be out of town, or entertaining guests and thus distracted or unavailable.  It may mean shuffling personnel to cover for volunteers who will be out of town.   Holiday weekends can be mildly dreaded by church pastors.

Paradoxically, the above is not always true.  It may be a weekend when there will be a disproportionate number of visitors (Mother’s Day, Christmas, Easter.)   As a young pastor I was always anxious to impress these passersby – not one of my better motives.

A weekend with extra services to prepare for, greater schedule demands (Christmas, Easter.)  This brings a much busier schedule and more pressure.

More challenging sermon preparation – “What can I say this year that is different from last year and the year before that?”  (Christmas, Easter, other holidays)

Depending on what tradition or denomination these demands come with lesser or greater intensity.  One pastor recently admitted he was exhausted after Holy Week.  It was a blessed season and rewarding but his tradition offered all the possible Holy Week observances.

So the next time a holiday weekend rolls around, consider offering a special prayer for your church pastor that God’s grace would be poured out abundantly.

This blog post was written by Phil Engelman, Director of Grace Valley Ministries and Regional Director for North Georgia for Barnabas Ministries.  He also wrote, Overcoming Temptation, a previous blog post.

Church Pastors and Mixed Results

Maybe the greatest challenge I’ve faced as a church pastor is the frustration of not really knowing how much good I’m doing.  In my head I know eternal results will be revealed in…eternity.  But somehow I want more of that tangible sense of accomplishment.  You know, like when you finish remodeling your kitchen.  There’s a sense of satisfaction with a job well done.  You don’t mind the sweat when
there’s a solid outcome you can chop onions on.Church Pastors and Mixed Emotions

Church pastors have mixed or unknown results.  Then there’s the problem of people simply not responding to the message.  I recently re-read Lamentations.  It was a reminder that my ministry has never been as frustrating as Jeremiah’s.  All that preaching with no results, knowing judgment would come anyway, because the people simply wouldn’t repent.

I love how the third chapter captures reality.  The first 20 verses are dark.  In v5, “He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship.”  In v8, “Even when I … cry for help, he shuts out my prayer”   But in v21, he remembers. “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.”  He continues with those great words in verses 22-23, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”   A few verses later,  Jeremiah lapses back into the reality of his painful present  – a mixed bag indeed.

The chapter illustrates to me that as church pastors, we not only will our ministry have mixed results, but our emotions will be mixed as
well.   May we embrace the words of Lamentations 3:25-26 – “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him…It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

This week’s blog post is provided by Pastor Phil Engelman, Ministry Director of Grace Valley Ministries and Regional Director for Barnabas Ministries – North Georgia


Ministry to Pastors: Overcoming Temptation

by Phil Engelman

The porn problem is one of those best kept secrets in the  church.  The truth is Christians are not immune.  Pastors aren’t either, so any ministry to pastors would do well to address this issue.  A great resource on the subject is Escaping the Porn Trap.  In this video, John Glisson, addresses the cycle of addiction in a way that really applies toMinistry to Pastors: Escaping the Porn Trap all forms of habitual sin.

Whenever we give in and indulge, we experience defeated thoughts.  Doubts about God’s love, questions about the genuineness of our faith plague us.  Guilt leads us to forms of penance.  We ratchet up our religious activity and re-enter another period of abstinence.   We “white knuckle” it, making promises to God and ourselves. For a while it seems to work, until the cycle of temptation begins anew.

The truth is when we fail it’s not really the result of a deficiency of will power or personal strength.  It’s a “grace deficiency.”  Only Christ can transform us from the inside out.  When we fail, it’s likely we are still trying to change ourselves.  But it’s only His grace that “teaches us to
deny ungodliness and worldly passions…”  Titus 2:11-12.

With a commitment to ministry to pastors, I am greatly concerned that we grasp this.  May the Lord show us what it means to really believe that Jesus is enough and that the same power that brought Jesus back from dead is ours today.  We trusted Christ to save us from sin’s penalty.  Only trusting Christ can deliver us from temptation.  May our love relationship with Jesus be so powerful and present in our lives that sin loses its grip over us.  One day we wake up and realize that freedom has come, because God did the work.

Pastor Phil Engelman, director of Grace Valley Ministries, is a regional director for Barnabas Ministries for north Georgia.  He and his team are engaged in a ministry to pastors.