Pastors, Deepen Your Walk and God Will Broaden Your Influence

A photo of a man walking in the cityEvery pastor wants to make a significant impact with his life and through his ministry. This passion and vision is true regardless of the size of the ministry you lead today.

When I was younger, I wanted to make a difference in a major way. I still do today. When I was in a smaller church, I wanted to have an impactful ministry. I still do today.

What is the secret?

Deepen Your Walk

Pastor, if you want to have a broad influence in your life and ministry, it all begins by deepening your walk with God daily. I am firmly convinced that God’s pathway to impact begins with a growing depth in your personal walk with God. There are no shortcuts!

The Bible reminds us in James 4:10,

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

Additionally, we read in Psalm 75:6-7,

For promotion does not come from the east, west, nor south; God is the judge. He puts down one and sets up another.

While there is a factor that God alone determines, the value of our unqualified pursuit of the Lord Himself is undeniable. And while we cannot control what God may choose to do with us sovereignly, we can pursue our relationship and fellowship with Him personally.

Therefore, how can a pastor deepen his walk with God?

  1. Be consistent in a daily time with God, filling your mind with God’s Word, growing in your personal prayer life, and pursuing His face relentlessly.
  2. Pursue holiness, putting aside thoughts, choices, and habits that distract you from Christ rather than lead you to Him. Again, pursue His face relentlessly.
  3. Trust the Lord alone for your future. He knows what is best for you, even when you do not. Refuse any human manipulation or politics to gain a position or increase your influence.

Therefore, as you prioritize deepening your walk with God, trust the Lord with everything else.

Broadening Your Influence

Broadening your influence is not up to you, your friends, or even your denomination. It is in the hands of God. Why?

For years, I have observed men attempt to manipulate their future in all kinds of ways. There was a day I tried to do the same. But as God has constantly moved upon me, leading me into moments of brokenness, I have learned that God alone is the one who broadens our influence.

I often tell pastors these words: If you want a broader influence in ministry, it all begins with deepening your walk with God daily.

Your motives determine your future, not just your vision. Your prayer life determines your future even more than your vision. Your prayer life will never surpass your commitment to daily deposit the Word of God into your life.

Pastor, when your daily walk with God results in a hot heart for God, then your ego is under the Lordship of Christ. When the Holy Spirit is developing your giftedness through quality ministry experience, then God may be preparing you for more in your future. All of these things together will result in God broadening your influence.

In His way and in His time, He may choose to do it for His glory.

A Final Reminder

God determines your geography, not you. Release your future to God by dying to your desires geographically.

God determines your influence, not you. Surrender your life daily to His Lordship, being content wherever you are and with whatever God has you doing in your life right now.

God determines your future, not you. When you committed your life to Jesus Christ, you died to your own desires. When you surrendered your life to God’s calling in ministry, you declared your future was completely the Lord’s, not yours.

He alone determines whether you are in Abilene or Africa, North America or South America, or ministering nationally or internationally.

Let it go. He has you in the palm of His hand. There is no safer place to be.

Yours for the Great Commission,

Ronnie W. Floyd

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Ministry Among Those with Mental Health Struggles

The evangelical world mourned in April 2013 with the news that Rick and Kay Warren’s son, Matthew, had committed suicide. News that Matthew had dealt with mental illness his entire life caused many to consider how ministry might be done to help people like him. Less known, but just as painful, was the suicide of Frank Page’s daughter, Melissa, in November 2009. Page wrote a memoir bearing her name in which he explores A Father’s Lessons from a Daughter’s Suicide. Page, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, hopes to turn his tragic experience into healing for as many as possible.

What research tells us

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 10 adults in the United States suffer from depression.1 A study from LifeWay Research found 64% of those who identify as born-again, fundamentalist, or evangelical Christians believe churches should do more to address suicide. The same study found only 21% of people who attend church once a week or more believe most churches would welcome them if they had a mental health issue. Fifty-five percent of those who do not attend church believe the church will help them. Ed Stetzer of LifeWay Research expressed concern that evangelicals “forget that the key part of mental illness is the word ‘illness.’ In a typical evangelical church, half the people believe mental illness can be solved by prayer and Bible study alone.”

Christians and mental illness

It is a problem in our churches when we view mental illness differently than physical illness. Very few if any evangelical Christians would advocate prayer and Bible study alone for the victim of an automobile accident or a child with a broken leg. This attitude is unhelpful for those dealing with mental illness and those trying to minister to or with them.

Family and friends of those dealing with mental illness or those who have ended their own lives have a place of refuge themselves. There is power in the word of God to bring peace and assurance in the goodness of God. Frank Page provides helpful encouragement to people suffering in times like those: “It’s easy to become bitter toward God and blame Him (or others) for what happened. Thankfully, I chose to turn to our Heavenly Father in my time of need. Words of Scripture I had memorized long before came to my heart bringing both compassion and comfort.”2

What God’s Word says to us

God’s word says in 2 Corinthians 1, “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows.”3

If you know someone suffering from mental illness, most definitely pray for them and don’t stop, but also encourage them to get professional help. If someone you know is depressed or struggling with thoughts of suicide, please encourage them to get help and take them if necessary. God can and will bring comfort and often healing, but we should respond with all the provision God has made through the medical field as well.

Yours for the Great Commission,

Ronnie W. Floyd

Senior Pastor, Cross Church
General Editor, Bible Studies for Life
President, Southern Baptist Convention

1- Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “An Estimated 1 in 10 U.S. Adults Report Depression,” http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsdepression/
2- Bible Studies for Life, Ministry in the Face of Mental Illness, Frank Page
3- 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, HCSB

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