3 Lessons Learned from a Brutal Season of Ministry

I love reading books on leadership. Whether it’s books about ministry, business, or sports, it doesn’t matter. It’s the genre I gravitate toward. I’ve read some good ones. But, there’s no book that could teach me the lessons I’ve been learning recently. 

Photo courtesy of pexels.com

Photo courtesy of pexels.com

The past few years in ministry have been the most challenging I’ve had. In 2013, I switched leadership positions to begin leading a ministry in the midst of difficult circumstances. This has been harder than I ever could have imagined. 

On top of that, one of my friends and co-workers, Bruce Grice, died suddenly from brain cancer in the summer of 2014. This loss has been difficult personally and professionally.

From the onset, the days have been long and intense. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. I wasn’t prepared. I realized pretty quickly that I needed help.

My friend, Josh Clem, connected me with one of his good friends and mentors, Lynn Anderson. My conversation with Lynn was rich. I took detailed notes because I knew, even as we were talking, that I would want to remember the things he said. 

There was one statement he made that will forever be seared into my mind. I could sense the urgency in his voice when he said…

“I beg you. Think of this situation as a teaching and learning opportunity that you don’t want to let pass.”

This statement has been a great reminder during this season. There are at least three lessons I’ve taken out of Lynn’s statement that will help me in the future when crisis comes…

1. Embrace the situation, don’t just endure it.

This was huge for me. Instead of just trying to get through this season, Lynn encouraged me to welcome it. This wasn’t something to be endured.

It would be a mistake not to embrace the crisis as an opportunity.

I needed to look at this season as an opportunity to learn and grow. The circumstances weren’t going to change so I might as well learn something in the process.

2. Being is more important than doing.

Instead of doing something to help our situation, Lynn was encouraging me, begging me, literally, to focus on being the right kind of person. Forget about doing anything. Focus on learning and growing.

According to Lynn, the internal person is always greater than external skill when it comes to leadership in the Bible.” I needed to allow God to shape my character through this crisis.

Feel free to download & share!

Feel free to download & share!

3. Stay humble.

Lynn was begging me to remain humble and have a teachable spirit. My natural reaction is to spring into action, to want to have the answers, to know just what to do. But, the reality is…I don’t. I was, and often am, in over my head. I have a lot to learn. 

I wasn’t prepared for this season of ministry. But, I’ve learned some things that I won’t soon forget and wanted to share them with you. Sharing is what this blog is all about.


What has God taught you from working through difficult circumstances? I’d genuinely like to know.

  7 comments for “3 Lessons Learned from a Brutal Season of Ministry

  1. Cyndi
    April 13, 2015 at 8:50 am

    I’m so glad I saw this and read it. Thank you for teaching me through what you are learning and experiencing. I thank God for mentor/guides like Lyn Anderson. And I thank God for you.

  2. Jovan
    April 13, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Neil, this is rich content. I love the concept of this blog. This post really resonates with me. Embrace it! I don’t want to survive or just endure. I want to win by growing from what I have experienced. I encourage you to keep it up! I am a big fan of yours!

    • April 13, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks, Jovan! I know you’ve got great things to share. I also know that you’ll find ways to share them. Have a good one!

  3. Scott Lambert
    April 13, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    My bro. To know your spirit and the way you approach hard seasons is an honor. I love you. I am proud of your lessons. Keep teaching us. sl

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