This transcript was taken from a Stand in the Gap Today program originally aired on July 15, 2021. To listen to the program, please click HERE.
Gary Dull: Well, hello everyone, and welcome to the American Pastors Network Stand in the Gap Today radio broadcast. I’m Pastor Gary Dull. And along with me today as my co-host is evangelist Dave Kistler. Our subject for today is a very serious subject. It’s entitled The Exiting Pastor Pandemic. Along with brother Dave and me to discuss this very serious and growing topic is Dr. Jamie Mitchell. Since 1984, Dr. Mitchell has served as college administrator, development director, minister of education, youth pastor, associate pastor, and senior pastor. In addition to that, Jamie has founded and currently serves in a consulting ministry called E18 Solutions, in which he counsels pastors and their local church ministry.
Jamie has recently been named the Director of Culture and Pastoral Engagement for the American Pastors Network as well. And through his ministry with APN, Jamie will be working to examine and inform APN on issues facing the church, so that APN can work toward providing solutions to the challenges facing the church and the pastor from the biblical perspective. I think that you’ll find today’s program very interesting, but for sure, I would like to say that we believe it’s very needed.
Now on a personal note, I just want to say that I was brought up in a very solid Christian family and a Bible-believing church. From the time that I was a child, my parents took me to church and by the time I went to Bible college, I had something like 17 years of perfect attendance in Sunday school with the bars going down over my lapel to prove it. Now without a doubt, I’m convinced that being brought up in a Bible-believing church was used of the Lord to bring me to personal salvation on July 17, 1964.
While growing up, my family was always close to the pastors of our church. I believe I really benefited from that relationship and believe the Lord used it to lead me to loving the pastoral ministry and eventually calling me into the pastoral ministry, in which I have now served for 47 years, 5 months and 10 days as of this moment. There is no doubt in my mind that I love the pastoral ministry. It’s not always been easy, but I can say that God has always been faithful.
Now, as I look back on some of the pastors I knew as a child growing up, I have three observations to share with you. Number one, I had a great respect for every pastor I knew. You see, they all reflected Christ to me and I had the desire to follow their example. In fact, I can remember that I wanted a Bible just like one of my pastors had, and my parents bought me one. I also wanted to dress like one of our pastors, I wanted to pray like one of our pastors, I can remember wanting to preach like one of our pastors and I was just preteen or teenage during that time. So I respected the pastorate.
The second observation I share is that most of the pastors we had in my home church did not stay too long. As I recall, all of them but one stayed at our church for two years or less. The one who stayed longer remained for eight years, but when I left for Bible college, we got a pastor who remained for 11 years, and during those 11 years, he did a great work for the Lord of the church. But as a child, I can always remember wondering why it was that pastors did not remain longer than they did in our church. When people that I knew who had other jobs, well, they worked at those jobs throughout the entire life. But our pastors seemingly came and went.
The third observation that I share is that looking back to my childhood, the pastors I knew remained in their ministry for life. Oh, they may have moved from one church to another often, but they never left the ministry. The pastoral ministry was their calling for life. And they remained with that, which God had called them to do.
Now in sharing those observations, I also want to say that I do know pastors who remained a long time in their churches. For instance, my wife’s pastor served his church for over 58 years and was the only church he ever served. There’ve been other pastors I’ve known who have stayed a long time. I myself have a long-term pastorate at the church I serve now. I’ve been here for over 25 years for which I am thankful. But it appears that today, fewer pastors are serving for the long term and their churches.
In addition, many men who began in the pastoral ministry do not remain in that ministry for life. More and more, we hear of pastors leaving churches for one reason or another, and some men are leaving the pastorate with the intent of never returning again. As a matter of fact, in the past two weeks, as we come to you today, I’ve had five pastors contact me for counsel and advice for matters they are facing in their ministry. Every one of them is discouraged for one reason or another. One of those pastors has already left his church. And another one is considering doing so. And if he does, he says, “I never want to be in the ministry again.”
So pastors are exiting the ministry these days, which is why we are calling this program The Exiting Pastor Epidemic. We have Jamie Mitchell with us, and Jamie is very, very strong as a child of God, as a pastor the Lord has used him and he is being used effectively these days and will continue to be used effectively with the American Pastors Network. And Jamie, it’s a delight to have you with us on the program today, sir.
Jamie Mitchell: Thank you, Gary, a joy to be here.
Gary Dull: I just have a question for you today before we go any further. And that is, I’ve been talking about this pastor pandemic, the exiting of pastors. And so as I bring you in here in just a few minutes or so that we have left on this particular segment, is there really a pandemic of pastors leaving the ministry?
Jamie Mitchell: You know, Gary, last year obviously was quite an upheaval year for our country, for businesses, for every segment of life. And probably one of the areas that felt it the most was churches. And about halfway through last year, I heard a statistic and I kind of shook my head at, I didn’t fully understand it or believe it. I heard somebody say that in the research that he was doing, that probably some 3,000 pastors were going to be leaving the ministry in the next year or two, primarily because of the pandemic and what their churches were facing.
When I first heard that number, I didn’t fully believe it. And then all of a sudden I started to see across the landscape, church after church, pastors leaving. And it really hit me because five major churches around me in the region where I live, all were with empty pulpits by the beginning of this summer. And so there is a movement. Carey Nieuwhof says this, that on nearly 30% of all pastors right now in North America want to quit. That number is three times what normally is. I mean, Gary, you’ve been a pastor a long time. I was, Dave’s been a pastor. We all know Monday morning, we all feel like we want to quit sometimes, but this is increasingly becoming a problem within the ministry right now.
Gary Dull: Well, indeed it is. And one of the things that we are finding, Jamie, is that fewer and fewer men are going into the pastoral ministry, so that just complicates it even more.
Well folks, we have to take a break, but when we come back, we’re going to further explore this pandemic that is in the pulpit. You need to hear this program. Why don’t you call somebody and let them know we’re on the air, we will be back right after these messages on Stand in the Gap Today.
Gary Dull Well, welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, and it’s a delight to have you there by the radio. You know, we come to you every day at this same time on this same radio station with very pertinent information to share with you. But I believe that what we are talking about today is maybe one of the most important programs that we’ve ever done, simply because of what the church and what the pastorate is. The Bible teaches us that the church is the pillar and the ground of the truth, and the pastor is the one who God calls to lead the local church in its ministry. And we are living in a time in which the church and the pastorate, they both are facing certain crises.
Today we’re talking about particularly the crisis that pastors face and some of the things that they have to deal with and how that they don’t stay in the ministry, many of them, for a lengthy period of time. And that’s why we’re calling the program today, the Exiting Pastor Pandemic. And by that, we mean that pastors all over the nation and perhaps in other parts of the world are either having short term pastorates at their churches they serve, or they’re not staying in the ministry all of their lives. They’re leaving their ministry of the pastorate altogether.
And I don’t know, but in my speculation, I believe that short-term pastors or pastors exiting the ministry does not contribute to the strengthening of the local church, but in the long run, only results in weakening the church in its purpose of evangelism and edification and exploitation and the glory of almighty God. And so we are dealing with this subject today. I would encourage you to listen carefully as we speak. We have Jamie Mitchell with us today, who is quite an authority on these things, and it’s a delight to have him with us.
Jamie, I want to begin this particular segment by talking more about this pandemic, because in the last segment we introduced this concept of the exiting pastor pandemic. We’ve highlighted it a little bit, but please describe to our listeners the real essence of this pandemic. What is it all about and why is it such a serious situation that we’re facing as it relates to the pastorate and to the local church?
Jamie Mitchell: Well, I think we’re going to talk a little bit later about some specific reasons of why I think that pastors are right now facing this crisis, but this crisis idea of the ministry being difficult, Gary, it’s been around forever. The fact of the matter is, whatever profession you’re in, whatever tasks that you’re called to, there are always struggles and difficulties, but the ministry has always had a special sense of burden because of the spiritual nature, the spiritual warfare that we face.
But I think the other thing is that, and this is what I’ve noticed in the past three decades, is that there has been less tolerance to any kind of pressure, problems, struggles. I was hit as a young man with Jeremiah is called to ministry. You know, in Jeremiah 1, Jeremiah is called by God to be a prophet and out of the gate, he tells Jeremiah, nobody’s going to listen and you’re not going to be quote unquote successful.
Now we know Jeremiah was tremendously fruitful, but in his eyes, he was either called to a very difficult ministry where nobody was going to listen, it was going to be really hard, but Jeremiah’s still in it. And so I think that one of the things that we have to look at is when men are called into ministry, do they realize that, look, this may not be a cakewalk. This is going to be very difficult. This is going to a struggle. This is spiritual warfare, and it’s going to be intense. It is not for the faint-hearted, Gary.
Dave Kistler: Jamie, let me ask you a question. Obviously, my dad pastored for almost four decades. I grew up in the ministry. I have a twin brother who, along with me, witnessed everything the ministry had to offer, good and bad. And I will tell you, as a 16-year-old, I was struggling with God’s call on my life. I sensed him calling me into the ministry, but I ran from it. And the reason I ran from it is because I had seen all the negative that had occurred in the ministry. I’d seen tremendous positive things, but it’s amazing how the wicked one will minimize the good, maximize the bad.
So I was headed toward a legal career, but at 16 years of age, as a result of some athletic injuries, the Lord really arrested my attention. And I’m thankful that I surrendered to the ministry and I’ve been a full-time evangelist now for 36 years. It’s been awesome. But in addition to the pandemic of men leaving the ministry, there is a pandemic almost equally as serious of young men who are not going into the ministry. There is a real dearth of young men surrendering to go in. Can you speak to that a little bit, Jamie? What do you think are the causes of that, that are keeping young men, maybe of college age, from wanting to enter this wonderful thing called the ministry?
Jamie Mitchell: Well, Dave, I look across the landscape and seminaries are filled with guys. I live near a seminary and there are a couple of thousand guys there that are preparing for the ministry. My concern is I talked to some young men today, is maybe the reason why they start out moving towards ministry and then don’t stay at it, is this sense of calling. I don’t want to make the idea of calling into ministry more mystical or spiritual or unique in that way. But I do sense that there needs to be a sense of calling, and it sounds like both in Gary’s life, my life and your life, we had some similar things. And that was, we had pastors who we knew, we had pastors who knew us and took an interest in us.
I cut my teeth before I went to school and prepared for ministry academically, I cut my teeth doing ministry in the local church with a pastor, cutting my teeth, learning about ministry so that when I then went off to the academy and I went off to college and graduate school seminary, it was to really fill the gaps of what I had already experienced in ministry.
And I think we have handed over the preparation of ministry to the academy, to the schools, and that’s fine. We need them. They’re helpful. They serve a purpose. But one of the things that pastors need to start to do is start to look at young men in their churches and work with them and disciple them and give them opportunities and help them figure out their call. Because once that sense of calling comes, that that conviction, boy, there’s nothing that’s going to stop it, Dave.
Gary Dull: Jamie, That’s absolutely true. You may not know this. I think probably brother Dave knows this, and I’m not sure that our listeners know it, but on the day that I was born, my great-grandmother and my granddad prayed that I would get saved and go into the ministry. And of course, I never knew that until I took my first church. Now in the years up until 1968, when I surrendered to preach, and I remember it quite well, it was under the preaching of a fellow by the name of … I forgot his name. Ron Susek. And don’t get old Jamie.
And I remember quite well, but you know, throughout those early years of my life, even though I wasn’t thinking of the ministry, I wanted to go into becoming a history teacher or a newscaster. And I really didn’t think that much of the ministry, but because pastors took an interest in me and I believe because of the prayer of my grandfather and great-grandmother, God was continuously at work in me preparing for the ministry to the point that when Ron Susek preached at our church in January of 1968, I received that call.
And that call was very, very clear in my mind and it is still there. And so I want to talk about the call here for a moment or two. Biblically speaking, Jamie, men are called into the pastoral ministry by God himself, not by other people, but by God himself. And my question to you is from the biblical perspective, is that calling temporary or permanent and how can a man walk away from the ministry to which he is called if indeed it is permanent?
Jamie Mitchell: Well, I think you have a couple issues, maybe more than two, but let me just drill down a couple of things. Number one, the Bible says in 1 Timothy 3, it’s very clear, that if a man desires or has this holy ambition, this burning in their heart, it’s a good thing. So having a personal desire to be in ministry, that’s a good thing, but it can’t stop there and you can’t hang your hat just on that. I think this is where the local church is so key, because it’s the local church that confirms that calling and comes alongside of that young man and says, we see these gifts. We see how God has his hand on your life. We see what God is doing. You know, it’s interesting, Gary, you look at the life of Timothy, which you almost modeled there with having a mom and a grandmom.
Here’s young Timothy. He had a mother and a grandmother who both loved the Lord. We don’t know if his father was saved or not. And it was there he learned the scriptures, but in Acts chapter 16, after Paul had gone through Galatia, gone through the town, he needed a mentor. He needed somebody to mentor and prepare for ministry. He goes back to Timothy’s town and it says there that Timothy was commended by the rest of the brethren. So Paul goes to his church leaders there and he says, I need this young man. And they say, you know what? He’s a fine young man. We know him, we know his character. Paul, you can invest your life in this young man.
And then it says he grabbed hold of Timothy. Literally he put his hands on him and he took him out of that town in Galatia, and the rest is history. And so in some respects that experience needs to be duplicated in every person’s life who wants to go into ministry. That sense of burning in their heart, go to your church, have your pastors and the church leader and the church family confirmed. And then have somebody come along and say, I want to lay my hands on.
Gary Dull: Sounds like good advice there, Jamie. Folks, when we come back, we’re going to talk about why pastors leave the pulpit ministry.
Gary Dull: Yes, it is true. You are listing to Stand in the Gap Today, and we thank you for the fact that you are there. We’ve been on the air, doing this program for a good number of years right now, and we always are very thankful for the pleasure of your company. If it would not be for you folks, why, this radio program would be noneffective. We’d be sitting here in our studios, talking to our walls.
And by the way, normally we are all in different studios, located all across the country. You might think we’re all together, but today Dave Kistler I think is in the Chicago area and Jamie is in North Carolina. I’m here in Pennsylvania and amazing with modern technology how we can bring these things together and sound like we are in one room.
And by the way, our executive producer, Tim Schneider is in the Redding Pennsylvania area. So you see we’re sort of scattered, but yet we are together. But we would encourage you to be praying for us. This ministry is designed to equip those of us who know the Lord Jesus Christ to face the issues of life from the biblical perspective, as we deal with political issues, church issues, spiritual issues, and so forth. Pray for us that we might be able to be as effective as God would have us to be.
And we always have a financial need. And we would ask you to pray that God would supply that need. And if he does through you, we’d appreciate it very much. Continue to go to our website. It standinthegapmedia.org and learn about our ministry, we’d appreciate that very much, standinthegapmedia.org.
Today, we’re talking about the pandemic of pastors leaving the pulpit then. This is very serious and it’s very precious to Jamie and Dave and I, because we are all three involved in the ministry. And the question is, why are so many pastors exiting the pulpit today? And so let’s get direct here. Jamie. I believe that you’ve come up with six basic observations in answer to that question. Why are pastors leaving the ministry today? Would you mind explaining those to our listeners, please?
Jamie Mitchell: Yeah. Gary, in recent days, talking with pastors, seeing what’s happening across the landscape, you can understand when I unfold these how this is really at the core of what’s happening. Pastors are telling me one of the reasons they’re leaving churches is dissension. With the COVID issues that hit the church, masks, no masks, vaccine, no vaccine, all of that. And then you added on top of that presidential election, racial issues, LBGTQ issues. And the list goes on.
Pastors discovered there was great dissension in their churches and they in some respects didn’t know what to do with it. And it just bore heavy on them. Secondly is disappointment. And again, I think this goes with the first one. A lot of pastors, I think have been shocked by how unhealthy their churches were. Many of them gave their life, are hoping to build their church, and when last year hit and the pressure of last year, they saw a lot of their church members and their church fold. I mean, attendance alone. If I’ve talked to a pastor who has over more than 50% back, it’s a tremendous blessing. Most churches are struggling at 50%.
Third thing, Gary, was them being disoriented about their role. You know, pastor loved the idea of people gathering together. They preach to a live crowd and then they basically get feedback, they’re around people. Last year especially, they saw that they didn’t have that role. They basically went into studio or went into an empty room, preached a message. They threw it up on the internet and they hardly even saw their flock.
Fourthly, discouraged in regards to direction. Many pastors coming out of last year, now starting to regroup, now starting to rebuild. They’re not sure where to go. They’re not sure what the church is about, they’re not sure. Number five is they are depleted. They’re depleted relationally, emotionally. They’re just depleted and they’re burned out. And then finally, and Sam Rohrer helped me with this one. We were talking a lot about it.
It was the de-Christianizing of America. We woke up and America has been de-Christianized. A pastor and ministry and churches were always seen in mostly a positive sense. But today we seem like we are the enemy of everybody. And so those six things, dissension, disappointment, disoriented, discouraged, depleted, and de-Christianized are the six major factors across the landscape right now.
Dave Kistler: Wow Jamie, you’ve said a lot, and those observations, I think are 100% correct, not just for the last 15 months or so, but I think they also can describe what’s been going on in our culture well before and will no doubt continue in some ways to go on well after the COVID year. Let me ask you this, Jamie, I grew up again in a pastor’s home. My story’s very similar to Gary’s.
My dad was in ministry. I felt God’s call on my life. My dad was my number one mentor, but there came across my path another gentleman who saw in me and in my brother and in one other guy that were part of the youth group, he saw a giftedness, and the fact that he believed and was convinced God could use us, he began in addition to my father to mentor me and to a large degree, from a human perspective, it was my dad and this other gentlemen that are the reason why I’m in the ministry.
They were the ones that challenged and developed and cultivated and provided insight and information and leadership. So I’m thankful for all of that, but at the same time, these six things you’ve mentioned are real. So what can a young pastor, what can a seasoned pastor do if these six things are going on one or two of them, three or four of them, maybe all of them in his life right now. What can he do to avoid walking away from the ministry based on these six challenging things you’ve mentioned.
Jamie Mitchell: What’s interesting, Dave, is you already gave the answer and you probably didn’t realize it. You know, you think about your life and what you just said, what Gary said, and even in my life, that there were significant people in our lives who encouraged us, who were there for us, who walked alongside of us. Something happens when we go into ministry and we wake up one day and we are very much alone. We are by ourselves. We obviously have people that we minister to, and there are those in the flock that we’re caring for, but there’s still a great separation. We don’t get the kind of support and help. And then, sadly to say, the ministry is pretty competitive and we don’t find the cooperation or the collegian attitude with other pastors. And one of the things I’ve told pastors a lot this year is that they got to find a coach.
They got to find a mature, godly man who can come alongside of them. I always say this, that you can’t get to clarity alone. You need somebody to talk to. You need somebody to coach you, not a counselor, but somebody who can come alongside you, you can run these things through. All of these six things, Dave, as you look at them, if I just had somebody to sit down with and think through how I was feeling and what I was grappling with, I know that somebody would speak into my life, maybe correct my thinking, encouraged me and challenge me to push through. But I think what we find today is that pastors are very lonely and they’re not making the effort to get into relationships that can help them, build in them, and give them direction.
Gary Dull: I appreciate what you said there, brother Jamie. I wanted to go a bit of a different direction here in the minute or two that we have left. A number of years ago, JB London wrote a book entitled Pastors at Risk. I think that’s the name of it. And in that particular book, he talked about how the pastors have in many occasions a higher risk in facing spiritual issues than perhaps the average man in the pew. What do you think about that? What are the risks that the pastor faces that maybe even a deacon or a Sunday school teacher in a church won’t be facing?
Jamie Mitchell: Yeah. I, I I’ve read that book many a time and HB London, he was a treasure to the church for a season. But one of the things that HB, I heard him say personally and made an impact in my life, is that a pastor has a unique life in that our work life, our church life, our family life, our friendship life, our even community and neighborhood life are all tied together.
You see Gary, if somebody loses their job, they run to the church for support guidance, comfort. When a pastor loses his job, it affects his family. He loses his church that would give him support, he has to leave the community that he was in. Our life is so tied together, and there are not many compartments to it, so much so that if a crisis hits our family or our community, like whatever, it sucks in everything else in our life. And we don’t find a lot of places where we can find support.
Gary Dull: Well, that’s absolutely true. And so many times when a pastor falls, rather than having the support of the people around him, people want to kick him out. You know, those of us who are evangelicals have the reputation of shooting our soldiers when they’re down, and that’s not a good thing. But those risks are there. And folks, I would encourage you to remember that and look at your pastor. Whoever he may be, he is under some of these risks that we’re talking about here in the program today.
Well, we’ve been talking about the exiting pastor pandemic. When we return after this break, we’re going to talk about the solution to that pandemic. You’ll not want to leave the radio right now. Stay tuned because the most important segment is yet to come.
Gary Dull: Well, folks, we are all very familiar with the phrase, the COVID-19 pandemic, that we’ve all been going through over these past 15 months or so, that we’re dealing with the pandemic today, that we are calling pastors, exiting their pulpits, exiting their churches.
And perhaps many of them are exiting the ministry way before God desires them to do so. And that’s why we have put this program together. I would encourage you to pray for your pastor if you’re not a pastor. I would encourage you if you are a pastor to maybe listen to this program again, as you have the opportunity to do so. And by the way, if this particular program has been a blessing or an encouragement or a challenge to you, please contact us.
We’d love to hear from you. And maybe there’s something that we missed saying that you would like for us to add at a later date, or maybe we said something today that would bring a question to your mind, please don’t hesitate to contact us. And you can do that at our website, which is standinthegapmedia.org, that’s standinthegapmedia.org.
But this pandemic is great. And for pastors who are facing the pandemic of exiting their pulpits, we must admit that it’s not just because of them. There are various reasons why they face these situations that caused them to exit. And in the last segment, Jamie spoke of some of them, including the dissension in the churches, the disappointment that they have over the spiritual level of their churches and even the de-Christianizing of the American church.
So Jamie, as we try to draw this to a point of conclusion and solution, it’s reasonable to believe that we have more church members listening to the program today than we do pastors. And so my question to you is this, what can the person in the pew do to protect the person in the pulpit in these pandemic days?
Jamie Mitchell: Well, I think just today, Gary, becoming sensitized of some of these issues and realizing that some of these issues we can deal with, we can face them, we can work through them. These are not terminal things. But I guess I would just say this to people in the church. First is, have a realistic expectation on your pastor. They’re husbands, they’re fathers. They’re working hard. They struggle in the same ways that you struggle.
They have flaws and failures just like you. So have a realistic expectation on them. If they don’t meet some of those expectations, then talk to them, share with them. In love, speak to them, but have the right expectation. And also, understand the unique role and the unique challenges facing a pastor. Sam and I are working on and probably in the next month or so is going to be doing a video on grief in the pastoral life.
You know, grief is an issue that we all deal with and if we don’t mourn properly or work through grief properly, it can have a really debilitating effect. Well, I’ve been doing a lot of research on this issue of grief in the ministry and grief in the pastor’s life, and I have found that many pastors deny that issue, deny mourning, deny grief, and they end up with delayed grief syndrome and it’s debilitating. And it’s because they’ve experienced all kinds of losses in their life that they either haven’t attended to, or their people don’t realize it.
Gary, how many years people have left our churches and it really is hurt. We loved them, we built relationships with them, and for some reason they leave our church and maybe the regular church member doesn’t even notice that Bob and Sally have left, but we feel it. It’s almost like losing a family member. And that loss in our life has an effect on us. And so I think people in the pew, if they can sensitize themselves to these issues in a pastor’s life and look at us a little differently, with a level of sympathy and empathy, that can go a long way.
Dave Kistler: Jamie, excellent. Let me ask you this. We have, obviously, as Gary said, more people that sit in the pew listening to this program than we do pastors that listen to the program, but we do have a large contingency of pastors nationwide that listen to this program. So let’s put you in a position to give some advice to two groups of pastors. There may be some that are listening right now that are discouraged for one of the six reasons that you gave and they’re considering exiting the ministry prematurely.
Number one, what would you say to them? And then number two, what would you say to a pastor who has already exited the ministry and he’s done so when God has a calling on his life, he has a mission yet for him to fulfill. What can that pastor do to get back up in the saddle, as it were, and fulfill the calling God has placed in his life.
Jamie Mitchell: Dave, I would give the advice that I’ve given to myself in the last number of years, and that is stop denying your humanity. Listen, one of the things that gets pastors in trouble is they get to a place where they don’t think that things will bother them, that things will trip them up, that things will cause them to stumble and give up. You know, when we’re starting to feel a sense of dread of going into the office or going into the church, where we don’t feel like there’s a challenge any longer, we’re now annoyed at the very smallest of irritations in ministry. Things are starting to wear down. And when we start feeling that way, we’re not just to pull up our bootstraps and push through. We’ve got to sit down and talk to somebody.
And that would be my second challenge, is I just think we got to get pastors to start to relate to others, maybe to other pastors, maybe some older godly people, but we need some healthy networks of pastors developing where people come around, not in competition with each other, but in cooperation and community and love and encouragement, which simply the fact of we need support.
I’ve attended a ministerium near me here, and one of the things that the leader of that ministerium says, which is a great thing, he says, “Look, we’re going to break up. We’re going to break up the groups. I don’t want anybody talking about nickels, noses, your church, your ministry, your program. We all know we’ve got issues going on. I want you to share what’s happening in your family and in your personal life right now.” And boy, that’s a refreshing thing, where I don’t have to talk about my ministry and what I’m doing and how I’m advancing the kingdom.
We know we’re doing that, but there are other hard issues, personal issues, discouragement issues that we need a place to talk about. And for the guy who has exited the ministry, maybe this is just a season of recalibrating, rebooting, but I would encourage you that God isn’t done with you yet. There is still much to do. You’re called to minister to people and make a difference and push the gospel forward. It’s not over. It may change in location and even in your platform, but your influence isn’t done. But if you need to rest up and get ready, do it and get ready to see what God’s going to do with your life.
Gary Dull: Jamie, it’s been a blessing to have you with us. And I’m certain that there are pastors who need help and they might want to contact you. Would you be willing to have them get in touch with you, sir?
Jamie Mitchell: Gary, that’s exactly why I’m working with APN now and what a great joy it is to be involved with both helping APN, understand the church culture, but most importantly, pastoral engagement. And if they contact APN, I would be glad to sit down, coach, talk, just be a friend or a listening ear to any pastor and try to connect them with one of our APN networks across the country.
Gary Dull: All right, ladies and gentlemen, you heard that Jamie would love to help you, pastor, as you’re going through some difficulties. And so you can contact us there through standinthegapmedia.org, and we’d love for you to do that. This has been a very important program and we pray that God is using it and will use it in your life.
Well on behalf of Dave Kistler, Jamie Mitchell, Tim Schneider, Sam Rohrer and the entire Stand in the Gap radio team, I’m Gary Dull saying, stand for the truth where you are, keep looking up and remember the best is yet to come because Jesus could return again today. Amen? amen.