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H. B. London: Stemming the Tide of Clergy Fallout

The developing of a vital spiritual life was discussed in this article. Some might ask if this needs to be mentioned in reference to pastors. However, pastors are like everyone else. We can get lost in the routine: preparing messages and Bible studies, preparation for counseling sessions, not to mention the many administrative duties can all become time consuming. Visitation—another vital ministry—takes time. All of these things are legitimate. As the article points out, we need personal time for reading God’s Word, praying, and fasting. These disciplines are necessary. We can become task oriented if we do not keep a good balance in our spiritual life. “A visible shell of spiritual life exists, but the pastor knows he is empty inside” (page 48). H. B. London reminds us that we need to attend to our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health. If we do not, we will lack the energy that is needed to do the work of the ministry and our spiritual development will be curtailed.

A good reminder is “Vital spiritual life can also be lost on the altar of spiritual pride that sees oneself as the only person who can do these great things for God. We may begin to define success as the world or as a colleague does; thereby, no longer giving the time and energy necessary to develop good spiritual balance in our lives. We look very busy and find we are driving more, but ultimately this produces an isolation that leaves a majority of pastors without a close friend” (page 51). Our personal life is very important. As a pastor, we along with our spouse must know that we have been divinely called by God into the ministry. Because of this call we must keep a life of integrity with our family as well as the church family.

Personally I have a prayer partner. I have found that to be a tremendous blessing. He and I meet once in a while for lunch. We share needs we have in our lives and in our families, and we have seen God answer so many of our prayers. It also keeps me accountable. This helps to keep me from falling out. I know I have someone beside the Lord to answer to. At the present time I am on staff and serving as Pastoral Care Minister. I have our Senior Pastor to whom I answer. But I have found that it is good to have someone else beside him to answer to. It helps to keep me from running on empty.

The final thought in the article is put in a question. “Is Reentry Realistic? Reentry into ministry after a failure can be difficult—but not impossible. If restoration were not possible, Paul would never have written Galatians 6:1. However, timing is quite strategic when returning to ministry. Likewise, developing a support group and an accountability system is of great importance so that the one who is returning to ministry does not become isolated.

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Category: Ministry, Spring 2003

About the Author: Carl J. Halquist went home to be with his Lord on April 7, 2021. Retired in 2014, most recently he had served as the Senior and Visitation Pastor at Trinity Assembly of God in Mt. Morris, Michigan. In full-time ministry since 1964, Pastor Carl served Assemblies of God churches in California, Indiana, and Michigan and served as a Sectional Presbyter for the Assemblies of God, Michigan District for 5 years.

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