I am working with a new ministry.
Standing Stone Ministry is a ministry to pastors in crisis. We work with pastors who are about to throw in the towel in defeat and discouragement. Our prayer and plan is devoted to coming along side pastors who are on the verge of burnout from the demands of ministry. Recently, I met with one pastor who said he was so overwhelmed with responsibility. “I feel like getting in my car and driving till I run out of gas and just giving up.” Another felt like it would be an improvement if he wasn’t completely overwhelmed 6 days a week.
Two other, younger pastors are crushed. One committed himself to a hospital. The other left the ministry altogether because the stress on his family was destroying the health of his wife. Another friend and pastor has had two consecutive short pastorates because of overbearing elders and disloyal staff. Still another friend is out of the ministry because he dealt with tension by indulging his lust. Another has apparently lost his faith.
I know all of these men. They are gifted, talented men who have lost their way. They love their wives. They sacrifice for their families. But that doesn’t mean that they are immune to bad behavior on the part of elders, deacons, congregations, and unrealistic expectations, their own and others. It doesn’t mean that they respond at all times in biblically responsive and godly ways. These men are hurting and so are their loved ones including their church families. And that is where a ministry like Standing Stone is so valuable. Standing Stone field shepherds come alongside pastors and Christian leaders to provide relationships of trust, confidentiality and accountability for the purpose of loving these men and their families and restoring them to effective and healthy ministry.
We are all broken people. But God delights to bring healing to others out of the brokenness of our lives. The Apostle Peter was a broken man after his denial of Christ. “He went out and wept bitterly.” (Matthew 26:75; Luke 22:62)
But Jesus’s words to Peter (Luke 22:32) are encouragement to us as well, “strengthen your brothers.” That, in a nutshell is what Standing Stone field ministers do. Experienced pastors (and their wives) come alongside hurting pastors and other Christian leaders to “strengthen them” for the battles of life and ministry.
Pray for these men with me, and for their wives too and don’t forget their children. The men I mentioned above are scattered around the United States and one lives half way around the world. Some I meet with over coffee. Some I meet with over ZOOM. And with everyone I need more than experience. I need the wisdom of God and the timing of God and the grace of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to help these men at the point of their need.
Yesterday, I made a brief trip to the HOPE CENTER, the local day shelter for homeless men and women. I have been working to help them put in a garden and was checking out the progress. I was under orders from my wife to look only, due to a back that has been giving me a lot of pain. On the way, the song below was playing on the radio. I had never heard it before, despite the fact that it has been on the airways for over a year. As I listened the thought hit me, “This song is the perfect backdrop and theme for our new ministry with Standing Stone. So, for your enjoyment, there are two versions below and a much older secular song by the Beatles. I hope they remind you to remember us and to pray for pastors and the pressures, loneliness and tensions they and their families experience.