“I’m tired and I’m broken…”
These words ring in my ears like a loud cymbal. I’ve heard it far too many times… from pastors. A pastor that I respect, and love listening to online, got in front of his congregation this past Sunday, said these exact words… and resigned. He shared that he had poured so much of himself into the church and ministry that he had neglected other things in his life that are equally important. He no longer looked and sounded like the energetic, fun-loving pastor that had led so many people to Jesus and built a church of over 7,000 people.
It broke my heart. Because it wasn’t the first time I had heard these words and sadly, it probably won’t be the last. And honestly, in my nearly 20 years of ministry…I’ve said it myself. Life as a pastor is more difficult than I ever could have dreamed when I timidly stepped away from a comfortable life in a secular job and accepted the call to full time ministry. No one told me that when I left that cushy 8-5 job that I was accepting one that was 24/7, 365 days a year. It takes a lot of energy to maintain that. It’s draining. And it’s driven countless ministers to throw up their hands and say, “I’m tired and I’m broken. I’m done.”
I don’t write this to solicit your sympathy. I love what I do. There are lots of times I say to our staff, “I can’t believe we get paid to do this!”. And there are other days that I look around and think, “There’s not enough money in this world to get me to come back here tomorrow.” Then, I see my mentors and my partners in ministry burn out and walk away…
I share this with you because we’re family, and because I don’t want our family to end up like this. I covet your prayers and your support. I ask for your understanding on those days I can’t be there at the exact moment you may need me to be. We have a great staff that is eager to help with the load. They encourage me to take days off and I appreciate their help, encouragement, and support more than any of them know.
I am so excited about the series we are doing in the month of September and I am even more excited about how enthusiastic our staff was to do it. That’s why I’ve asked them to share their hearts with you this month. Yes, I’m only going to be in the pulpit one Sunday this month. Some won’t understand why, but maybe you will. Your pastor needs to be fed. I will be there with you celebrating and worshipping our great God. I also plan to attend a men’s retreat with some of our other men from the church. I need that. Our staff told me I did. (LOL)
But seriously here’s the deal…I don’t want to get to the point where I stand before you and say, “I’m tired and I’m broken. I’m done.” I don’t want that for my family, I don’t want that for my ministry, and I don’t want that for our church. Yes, I have great reservations about not being behind the pulpit, but we are blessed with some incredible preachers on our staff. We are SO blessed!
So, I want to encourage you to be faithful to YOUR church. The church isn’t the pastor. The church is YOU. I also want to encourage you to pray for your pastor, your staff, and our families. We need your prayers and your support so desperately. I am looking forward to beginning a new series with you in October called #GNServes. It’s going to be incredible as we study together how God has called us to serve Him, His Church, and our community. I believe it will be life changing for many people who call Greenbrier Nazarene their church home. Then, after that, come the holidays! And you all know how much I LOVE the holidays! (Lenett will be putting her trees up in SIX weeks!)
But until then remember this: I love you dearly….and I’m NOT done….and neither is God! Our best days have yet to come!
I love you!
Steve Thrasher, Senior Pastor