How Pastors Overcome These Eight Difficulties after Graduation from Seminary

By Josiah Li, August 01, 2018 09:08 AM

A pastor baptized an elderly woman (Wechat account: Yushui Church )

When a theological graduate starts to work in a church, he will face various kinds of difficulties and challenges. Such as sermons not recognized, distrusted by church leaders, financial pressure, the tension between family relationships and church ministries.

To help seminary graduates overcome these challenges, some pastors shared their victorious experiences.

Sermons disapproved

A seminary graduate in Beijing said that he felt painful and weak because his sermons were not favored by the congregation in the early days of his service. Now he has been a pastor in Yanjing Theological Seminary for years.

"At that time, the pastor didn't come to me. After gradual prayer and sermon preparation, God helped me understand that his call was irrevocable for he knew who I was and never made mistakes." He added.

Distrust from church leaders

A seminary graduate from Hunan begun his service in a church with a fervent heart but was mistrusted by the church leader. After years'service, he has found a solution - "working under the authority given by the leader".

"My greatest difficulty is that the leader is afraid of you while using you. He uses you because you are young and motivated; he fears that you would hog the spotlight and get into trouble. If you work under the authority given by the leader, he will not be worried at everything and church ministries will be carried out in a calm and peaceful way."

The congregation doesn't pursue spiritual growth.

A preacher from Henan found that today's Christians generally don't seek spiritual growth, instead, are money-oriented. So he adopted a solution: "paying visitation, following up them with nurture, accompanying and encouraging them. "

He said that shepherding was like feeding babies with patience and confidence and real efforts would work out.

Opposition from laborers

A pastor from Hunan who was elected as the head of a local church was opposed by most co-workers who formed a faction. He chose to do his work and prayed for the issue. Meanwhile, he provided a chance for the laborers who didn't agree with him to return their positions. After almost one year, they turned to support him.

Low compensations

A common problem faced by some graduates who return to serve in rural churches is financial pressure. Some of them are unpaid and some paid several hundred yuan a month. So a portion of them are forced to leave ministries and work outside.

A young graduate who works in a rural church in Henan solves the problem.

In the early days of his service, he, unpaid, felt ashamed to talk about the salary issue with the pastor, fearing that he would be regarded as a lover of money and irreligious. Having lived with financial difficulties for some reason, he left the ministry and found a job. Working outside the church, he wished to return to the church. Back in the ministry, he told the church leader about his financial conditions and asked to pay him. Later the church made a decision - his monthly salary of 1,600 yuan would be paid by eight churches he serves.

Fund shortage in the church

A pastor who has worked in Liaoning for over two decades said that the most impressive difficulty was a lack of money in church construction.

As a new construction project was carried out for some time, there was short of 300,000 yuan. At a loss, the church knew that a couple who ran an enterprise gave 300,000 yuan that would be used for construction to one of the church leaders. He said, "The hardships we thought were grace after the issues, through which God trained us to have a more abundant life. In fact, it was provided by God -Jehovahjireh."

Tension between family and ministry

A common problem among many preachers is the tension between family and ministry.

A female woman from Guangdong said it was her greatest difficulty because God was displeased with sacrificing a family to serve him. But she found out a right approach - to fulfill one's duties in both her family and church. Serving families that were also mission fields were serving God. She urged the congregation to understand that a pastor needed to balance ministry and family and not push him to be"faithful"to the church; otherwise, it would led to an estrangement between his and his family, which would eventually let God's name suffer.  

"Disagreeable" congregation 

Interpersonal problems are a headache to some seminary graduates, including relationships with their church leaders, co-workers, and the congregation. 

In his early ministry, a young preacher in Henan found it very hard to communicate with believers some of whom flaunted their seniority. From his perspective, he should stay away from them. Later he had to interact with them for some things, and discovered that they were very simple. The chilly relationship might result from mutual mistrust.  

- Translated by Karen Luo

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