I meet individually with ten young pastors and ministry leaders. There is nothing more important to me than this, and there are few things that I enjoy more.
These leaders are my heroes. They have answered the call to live in the trenches of spiritual warfare, shepherding the body of Christ and dealing with the full range of joys and hardships that are inevitable in ministry.
I love walking with pastors through the twisted roads, the hills and valleys, and the sunny days and stormy nights of ministry. But it can be exhausting and discouraging.
Where does a ministry leader turn for hope, motivation, and courage? Time and time again, I have run to the words of my Savior in The Great Commission:
“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16–20, ESV)
This two-part promise is why church leaders can get out of bed each morning and face another ministry day.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
There is no situation, location, or relationship outside of God’s authority and sovereign rule. Everything in heaven and on earth is under his command.
I don’t know if you’ve ever considered this, but the faithfulness of God’s promises to us is only as reliable as the extent of his sovereignty. God can only guarantee the sure delivery of his promises in the places over which he has control.
(I can guarantee what I promise to you in my house because I have some authority there, but I cannot make the same promises for my neighbor’s house, over which I have no control.)
Jesus promises: “As you minister, you can bank on everything I have promised you because I rule every place where you will need those promises to be fulfilled.”
God’s promises are concrete because his sovereignty is complete!
“Behold, I am with you always.”
This promise is much deeper than Jesus saying, “I’ll be there for you.” Jesus is taking one of the names of God: “I Am.”
He declares, “Know that wherever you go, the I Am will be with you, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the one on whom all the covenant promises rest, the one who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, the one who is Alpha and Omega.”
Today you can have hope, confidence, and courage. Why? Because of the completeness of Christ’s authority, the inescapability of his presence, and the surety of his promises!
Christ is confident in his ministry leaders not because of what is in them and what they will do, but because he knows what is in himself and what he will do.
Paul David Tripp
My prayer is that these principles will protect and bless Christian leaders with a long and healthy ministry life for generations to come. Consider purchasing it for the pastors in your life from our non-profit ministry. We offer free shipping when you buy 3 or more copies.
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1. How has the local church blessed you over the years, and most recently? Be specific, listing all its fruit in your life.
2. Despite God’s gifts of grace, do you find yourself overly critical about the local church and its leaders? How have you grumbled recently?
3. When was the last time you reached out to your pastor, elder, or ministry leader to encourage them? Do you know their specific burdens and how you can pray for and serve them?
4. How does the promise of “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” give you specific confidence today?
5. Where do you need hope, confidence, and courage today? How does the promise of “Behold, I am with you always” supply that for you in a way that no one else can?