Ministering in a Difficult Church

Dr. Lawless preached a much needed chapel message today. He is the dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth as well as the director of professional doctoral studies at SBTS. You can listen to the Said at Southern interview with Dr. Lawless here.

In a sermon entitled “How do you minister in a difficult church?” (Mp3) Dr. Lawless exhorted us all to remember God in ministry.

Sermon About Hard Churches: 1 Corinthians

When ministering in a difficult church, we should first remember God’s gracious calling on our own lives. Second, we should remember that our work as ministers is about God not us. Finally, we are to remember to love God’s people even if it is the last thing we want to do.

I think Dr. Lawless’ message should be heard by all aspiring ministers. There are too many students at Southern and other seminaries who are attending not because they need to learn anything–they already know everything. Rather, they are attending simply to gain credibility. In essence their education has become the choice idol they would rather worship. I echo Dr. Lawless’ caution that we not allow our education to make us think and feel as though we are worthy of our ministry or that we deserve better treatment than anyone else. Maybe we should all look deep within our hearts and see what our true motivation is.

Download the Sermon

In a sermon entitled “How do you minister in a difficult church?” (Mp3) Dr. Lawless exhorted us all to remember God in ministry.

Read my fuller treatment of Dr. Lawless’ message here.

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6 Responses to Ministering in a Difficult Church

  1. Tony Kummer says:

    Thanks for the summary. Dr. Lawless is definitely one of Southerns best and devoted teachers. I’m looking forward to the sermon.

  2. Aaron Hawk says:

    That is a timeless and challenging message that encourages me, but also cuts me to the heart… may we continually remain humbled by our calling. I am living proof that the Lord calls the foolish!!!

    Aaron Hawk’s last blog post..Brothers and Sisters are We (?/!) – Supplement to Part Two B – Analyzing Overanalyzing

  3. Great post. The two books by Glen Damon on pastoring and leading the small church should be required reading for every final year seminarian. They are full of the practical humility that flowed from Dr. Lawless’ message and are beneficial for a pastor of any size church.

    Morris Brooks’s last blog post..Preaching to the Mind

  4. centuri0n says:

    A while back at my blog, my pastor and I traded some ideas about Andy Stanley’s view of leadership in ministry, and his statement in CT that there’s nothing specifically spiritual about being the head guy in a local church — meaning, I think, that running the organization was not a specifically-spiritual issue.

    Be that as it may, I shared that with my wife, and she said to me that people who think that the CEO is the right model for being a pastor have it utterly upside-down and backwards. She said that a pastor is a lot more like a kindergarten teacher — he has to somehow know here everyone is, make sure everyone gets their naps and is learning their lessons, teaches them to treat each other kindly, and isn’t afraid to get a little dirty in the process.

    Then she stopped a minute and said, “I mean, he’s a shepherd. He should smell like the sheep.”

    I wanted to make that into a t-shirt, but I didn’t think anyone would buy one.

    centuri0n’s last blog post..Not the Gospel

  5. Brother Hank says:


    I already bought one each of your “Spurgeon is my homeboy” and “Calvin is my homeboy” t-shirts. I’d be first in line at cafe press to by the “Stinky Shepherd” shirt…

    Brother Hank’s last blog post..Standing Out In The Cold: Further Confessions of a Christian Pro-Life Activist

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