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Leading in the Midst of Personal Trials
by Tom Goodman
March 4, 2010

Serving God isn't an insurance policy against hardship.  When the personal trials come, how do you continue your church leadership?

  • How do you continue shepherding your Sunday School class or Common Ground group as you try to process the heartbreak of your child's rebellion?
  • How do you continue to lead people in praise through your music ministry when conditions at home have left you wondering about the future of your marriage?
  • How do you continue confidently teaching the promises of the Word when serious illness hits you or a loved one?

Bob Kauflin wrote about this issue recently at his blog, Worship Matters.  A few days before he was scheduled to lead the worship music at his church, he found out his 2-year-old grandson had leukemia.  He wrote:

The songs had already been chosen.  The focus was the Father's personal, particular, and passionate love for those he has chosen from before the foundations of the earth and adopted in Jesus Christ.

What was he to do?  His options:

I guess I could have struggled with the apparent dichotomy between my circumstances and the songs we were singing.  Or ignored what my family was going through altogether and pretended that nothing was wrong.  Or complained about how hard life is sometimes.  By God's grace, I actually drew great comfort from God through the truths we sang.

Personal hardship doesn't disqualify us from leading and singing and teaching at church.  Instead, when we hurt, the Word we've been pressing into the lives of others is balm for our own wounds as well.  As Kauflin wrote:

We don't lead others out of a vacuum or a sanitized form of Christianity that bears no resemblance to normal life.  It's important that we take time to grieve, acknowledge pain, and confess our struggles.  But when, not if, you find yourself leading out of weakness, challenges, and trials, don't minimize what's going on or succumb in despair to your burdens.  Lift your eyes, even as you lift the eyes of others, to the Father whose compassions never fail and to the Savior whose mercies are new every morning.

Whether God changes our trials, or more importantly, changes us through our trials, we praise him now in joyful anticipation of the day he will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Rev. 21:4).

Amen.  So, when you're hurting, don't shut down the service you've been providing your church family.  The teaching and music and encouragement you've been providing them may be the very medicine your soul needs now.


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