Dear Fellow Pastors, Ministers & Ministry Leaders,
I know many of you that are reading this letter right now and some I do not know yet. I want you all to know from the beginning that writing this letter was not my idea or even something I really wanted to do. This is something I felt the Lord leading me to do. He would not let the idea of writing this letter to you all escape my mind until I surrendered, and told Him yes. I feel that God has laid a word on my heart to share with you all. I hope and pray that this will minister to you, and bless you. Not because I am writing this, but all because of God and the leading of His Holy Spirit.
I look up to so many Pastors and Ministers that are currently reading this letter. So many of you influenced and have mentored me in my ministry. I began my vocational ministry on April 28th of last year as a ministry intern & later a Minister of Connection at His Vineyard Church in Greer, SC. I am now a 21 year old college student at Anderson University and I am currently serving as the Student Minister at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Williamston, South Carolina. For the duration of my 21 years on earth I have always been around Pastors and Ministers. Growing up my parents were in Full-Time Youth Ministry and my Grandfather (Mom’s Dad) served as a Worship Pastor for over 48 years. When I was 10 years old my parents divorced due to my Dad’s drug addiction which caused us to go and live in yet another ministry home, with my grandparents. He has been clean from this for many years now and is now serving as the Pastor of Care Baptist Church in Fairmont, South Carolina.
Since I have always grown up in and around ministry it has caused my heart to be very burdened for my fellow Pastors, Ministers and Ministry leaders. We have all read the statistics that show Pastoring is one of the most stressful jobs out there. Before the pandemic statistics showed that 75% of us felt “extremely” or “Highly” stressed according to SoulSheparding.com. Imagine how much that stress has spiked since the beginning of the Corona Virus. Before the virus over 77% feel that they do not have a good marriage, also according to SoulSheparding.com. I am not yet married, but I can’t imagine the amount of stress that pastoring during a pandemic can cause for a marriage. Take a second while reading this and pray for the marriages of at-least one of your Pastor friends.
We all know the well known statistic that only 10% of current Pastors will retire as a Pastor, according to the SBC. With that being said, how in the world are we supposed to make it through this pandemic? We are preaching and teaching our congregations to take heart, look to God, and pray for one another during this time. The real question here is are we ministering to our fellow brothers in the ministry by checking on them? Are you allowing yourself to take some time and seek the Lord? We are preaching for everyone else to stay calm and trust God, but are you doing that today? Are you leaning in the Lord’s Strength? These are all questions that I struggled answering honestly. I hope today not to discomfort you with all of the statistics I listed above but to hopefully be of an encouragement to you. I understand that I am probably a whole lot younger than you and lack SO much more wisdom than you all have, but I believe 1st Timothy 4:12 to be of truth. I believe God has told me to write this. I must be obedient to him no matter the opinion of others. I am not writing this letter out of experience or wisdom. I am writing this out of love for you all and to continue to see the Christian faith family grow.
Be Your Brothers Keeper-Galatians 6:2
The one thing that most of us (I hope) have in common is that we are born again believers in Christ. Since we are brothers in Christ, then we need to have each others back. No matter age, domination, which church you serve or even personal preferences. All throughout scripture we see that we are to take care of one another and even carry each others burdens.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”-Galatians 6:2
How are we going to pastor and lead our people in our congregations if we don’t have at least 1 person that is checking on us? This can be a close friend, deacon, or fellow Pastor. As many of you know, as Pastors and Ministers it can be difficult at times to have many close friends. With this being said I want to challenge and encourage you to check up on the youth minister down the street who just started 3 months ago. Check on the Pastor who is in his 1st pastorate across the highway. Or check on the interim who has served churches his whole life. See brothers, when we do this we are living out Proverbs 27:17.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”-Proverbs 27:17
For the Christian, we know that in and off ourselves we can’t do anything. It is through Christ alone. Often times, God chooses to use others around us to help and encourage us. To sharpen iron against iron. So let me ask you this fellow Preacher/Minister…. When was the last time that you truly allow God to use a fellow brother in the ministry to pray over you? Speak life into you? Not talk about church things only, but truly allow the Spirit of God to make you better for Him and for God’s Glory!
God has not promised to us when or how or even if this pandemic and life as we currently know it will ever end. But he did promise that he will be with us through it. I want to encourage you today to be your brothers keeper. We’ve got to have each others backs. I want you to know that if you are reading this letter, you’ve been prayed for. Even though I don’t know your specific name or when you are reading this, God does. I’m praying for you. I love you. I will be your brothers keeper even when you feel no one else will be.
What to do with the increased stress?
So, what in the world do we do with all of the increased levels of stress that many of us have already experienced? Well, the first thing to do is check on one another and carry each others burdens. Also, we must get on our knee’s and PRAY. Every time you begin to worry or stress PRAY! Talk to God! We preach to our congregations often about taking concerns and worries to God, but how often to we sit down and pray for what is happening? I mean really pray. When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane right before he was arrested to be crucified He sweat out drops of blood. When was the last time you prayed that hard? Pastor, the time is now! We’ve got to pray! I have a hunch that at-least 80% of you have read this verse to your congregations recently…
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”-2nd Chronicles 7:14
In order to take away from the stress you need to take some time… alone! This is something God has been telling me to do! Whether it’s going to your study, out doors, fishing, wherever that place is for you, take some time and just allow God to speak to you. How are we going to allow God to speak through us to others if he first isn’t speaking to us? I’ve been in this situation where I haven’t allowed God to talk to me like I should! It’s not a good place, but the amazing thing is no matter how stressed or whatever your situation is God cares! He wants to guide and lead us through this pandemic! Are we actively letting him do so? Think about that….
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”-1st Peter 5:6-7
May we cast all of our cares upon the Lord. No one expected this pandemic and none of us have lived through or even pastored through one before. But whom shall we fear guys? The God of angel armies is on our side!! So why in the world would we be stressed or even worried about a pandemic! We should be cautious and lead accordingly, but we should not be worried or fearful.
Continue to run, like you never have before.
Our Christian walk is often compared to a marathon, a race. It’s true, it is very much like a race. The same can be said in ministry. This is a race. Many of you have been running a really long time and others are like me and you just started out your race. None of us know exactly how long our race is or will be. But we do know that we must keep running. Maybe today there is one person reading who just doesn’t want to continue to run. May I encourage you? I’ll head back to Galatians chapter 6.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”-Galatians 6:9
Yes this is hard, but we have no idea how much harvest God wants to turn up during this time. We must keep sowing! We can’t stop just because we get tired or don’t want to run anymore! Can you imagine if this pandemic were to end soon and we left it the same way that we entered it a month ago? What a tragedy that would be! There is so much God wants us to take and benefit from even amidst a global tragedy! We need to want to become better Christ Followers, better husbands, better uncles, better grandfathers and better Pastors and ministers of the Gospel.
The time to quit running this race is certainly not now. If anything, it is time to run harder than you ever have before. Prepare more for your sermons, preacher harder than ever, even if it is in front of a camera for now. Brothers, we never know exactly who is at the other end of that camera watching and who they are. They could be lost, dying, and heading to hell. Are you preaching as if that’s the case? Are you preaching your heart out for God to save those who are lost? Or are you preaching just to fulfill your “job” and get by? We all know ministry has parts that may seem like a job at times, but this is a calling. It is challenging, but we know that God will not leave us. We shouldn’t ever leave one another. May we strive to be each other’s keeper, look after our own minds, and NEVER stop running in this race we are in.
Now that we are coming towards the end of this open letter it is my prayer that hopefully this encouraged you. I pray that God used this in your life and hopefully it blessed you. If it did, do me a favor and share this letter so that other Pastors, Ministers and ministry leaders may hopefully be encouraged. Thank you for excusing my below par writing skills. I just hope and pray it was 100% what the Lord would have me to write to all of you.
If I don’t personally know you I’d love to get to know you! My number and email are below. There are SO many things that I lack. I lack ministerial experience, wisdom, and the simple “how to’s” of ministry. If the Lord lays it on your heart I would love to hear form you and be able to hear your story of how God has been faithful to you. I love you all, and I hope you have a great day.
Love and Blessings,
Brady Henderson-(864)-395-9509 Email: Bradylovesjesus24@gmail.com
Hillcrest Baptist Church
April 20th, 2020