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

Where there are people, there are going to be problems. The article points out that in the early church there were conflicts that had to be worked out and we should expect the same today. One early church difficulty that most of us think of is recorded in Acts 6:1-7. The Jewish community that had been influenced by Greek culture did not think their widows were being treated fairly. To resolve this conflict the leaders had the congregation look for seven men full of the Holy Spirit to oversee that ministry. It sounds easy enough, but it could have been more complicated than what we think.

As I read the article what came to my mind is that we are family, siblings, if you please. I do not know how your home was, but I know how my sisters and I got into it when we were growing up. As a pastor I remind people in the congregation that we are spiritual siblings, and siblings at times will not agree and need to work out the differences.

The way you build a strong relationship is by spending time together. If you do not spend time with your spouse, you will not get to know him or her. You will grow apart instead of bonding. I found through the years of pastoring that as I would spend time with my congregation I got to know their needs. This gave me opportunity to minister to them—and through that ministry, build a strong relationship. The interaction was so beneficial.

H. B. London points out that there must be a balance of priorities. I agree heartily with him. You can become burned out if you do not allow time for yourself, with God, your family, and even some rest and relaxation. Apathy can creep in if we are not prioritizing our responsibilities.

He talked about being committed. “One man celebrating his 50th anniversary responded to the question, ‘Are you surprised that your marriage lasted so long?’ by saying, ‘I never considered an alternative’” (page 46). Commitment requires that there be trust between individuals. When trust is present, no longer will there be a revolving door with pastors coming in and pastors leaving.

One point made by this article was how important it is to express appreciation. How appreciation is needed! I have seen people work hard because they were praised for what they did. I believe that good communication and expressing appreciation work hand in hand. If people know what the pastor feels the Lord wants, they know that there is direction whether they like it or not. “Healthy relationships find ways to reinforce good decisions, communicate constructive criticism, and celebrate confidence in decisions” (page 48).

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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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