If you want to last in ministry, you need to learn how to deal with disappointment.

The very nature of ministry makes you highly vulnerable to disappointment. Every leader must learn how to deal with the tension between the ideal and the real. No matter how effective your church is, it’s never quite where you want it to be. You will always want it to be better and stronger.

Moses knew all about disappointments in ministry. No man put up with more complaining or lack of appreciation. Over and over the Israelites questioned his motives, doubted his decisions, and challenged his leadership.

A good example of this is found in Exodus 15. After Moses led them through the Red Sea, the Israelites traveled three days through the desert without finding water. “When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. . . . So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘What are we to drink?’” (Exodus 15:23-24 NIV).

Moses’ story points to an important lesson: Great successes in ministry are often followed by failure. After every mountaintop comes a valley. If you’re experiencing a big success in your ministry, you’re often being set up for a Marah.

What’s the Marah in your ministry? It is anything distasteful, uncomfortable, or upsetting to you—and it typically comes from one of three sources:

Disappointment with things

Disappointment with circumstances

Disappointment with people

Why does God lead you to Marahs? Exodus 15:25 says, “There the Lord made a decree . . . and there he tested them” (NIV). God allows these moments in your life to test you. He uses disappointing circumstances and people to check your reaction. He wants to know: “Do you really trust me?”

Our character is not tested in the spectacular successes. Our character is tested in the daily irritations. The difference between the Red Sea and the experience at Marah is that God’s character was revealed at the Red Sea, but man’s character was revealed at Marah.

Disappointment says a lot about us. It tells us about what’s inside of us and what our motivations are. Israel responded by complaining, grumbling, and criticizing their leader. Disappointments always reveal more about us than they do about the circumstance.

The good news is, God won’t leave you alone in your ministry failures and disappointments. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (NIV). It’s a verse to hold on to when you feel broken and crushed after experiencing great success.

So, pastor, how do you deal with disappointment in ministry? You “listen carefully to the voice of the Lord” (Exodus 15:26 NIV) and use that time to trust in God like never before.

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BOOKS BY BOLA AKIN-JOHN

  1. Fruitful and Fulfilling Ministry Today
  2. Grow the Pastor Grow the Church
  3. Sexual Purity in Leadership
  4. Money, Ministers and Ministry Today
  5. 22 Dynamic Laws of Church Growth
  6. 25 Pillars of Church Health
  7. Personal Growth Today
  8. The Loyal Associate
  9. Guest Ministers Today
  10. 120 Strategic Ways to Increase Church Attendance
  11. Quality and Quantity Growth in Churches
  12. Strategic Church Planting Today
  13. Spiritual Warfare for Dynamic Church Growth
  14. Supernatural Power, Miracles, Signs and Wonders Today
  15. Church Change
  16. The Place of Anointing and Administration in Church Growth
  17. Pulpit Power for Church Growth
  18. Daily Nourishment for Leaders
  19. Healthy Leaders Healthy Churches
  20. Anointing Alone is Not Enough
  21. 101 Ministry Lessons
  22. Healthy Home
  23. Small Middle-Size and Mega Churches
  24. How to follow well
  25. Strategic Living
  26. True success in ministry
  27. Rise and Fall of Churches / Ministries
  28. Closing the Back Door
  29. 25 Indispensable Qualities of a Competent and Credible Minister
  30. Church Growth Principles of Jesus
  31. Your Church Your Community
  32. Your Growth is Your Future
  33. Frank Talk to Men
  34. The Cell Church
  35. Our Churches and His Church
  36. How to Support & Strengthen your Pastor
  37. 101 ways to progressively kill a church
  38. The Real Man in Every Church
  39. Matured Pastor’s Wife & Female Minister
  40. Pray and Grow
  41. Short Course on Family Growth
  42. Short Course on Church Growth
  43. Short Course on Wholesome Sexuality
  44. Short Course on Financial Growth
  45. Short Course on Personal Growth
  46. Fundamental Teaching & Doctrines of the Bible
  47. With Jesus in the School of Money
  48. Holy Spirit the True Vicar of Life and Ministry
  49. Five Fold Ministry
  50. Prophet & Prophetic Ministry Today
  51. Leading your Church to Lasting Growth
  52. Your Image is Your Growth
  53. Conflict and Crisis in Ministry
  54. Thy Kingdom Come
  55. DiscipleShift Today
  56. Healthy Local Church
  57. Congregational and Cell Church Today
  58. Heart of a Christian
  59. Overseer and Senior Pastor Hand book 1
  60. Abusive Pastor Abusive Churches
  61. Church Turn-Around Strategies
  62. Pastor and People’s Price For Church Growth
  63. Fatherhood and Sonship
  64. Healthy Woman Minister
  65. Women In Church Growth Resource
  66. Kingdom Stewardship
  67. Overcome At The Gate
  68. Healthy Pastor, Dangerous Pastor
  69. Sexually Wholesome Church
  70. Healthy Pastors, Dangerous Pastor
  71. Impact-Driven Church
  72. Clergy Coupes
  73. Apostolic Ministry
  74. Evangelist Ministry
  75. Pastoral Ministry
  76. Prophetic Ministry
  77. Teaching Ministry
  78. Your Church Can Grow in a Healthy Way
  79. Real Men Resource
  80. Strong Christian, Strong Christian
  81. Planting Disciples-Making Church
  82. Front and back Door of Your Church
  83. Discipleship Process Recourse
  84. True Biblical Church Growth is still Possible
  85. Daily Nourishment 2
  86. Reaching and Disciplining Children and Youth in today’s Church
  87. Eschatology and Kingdom Teaching Resource
  88. I Can’t Breathe