To Loved Ones Around Those in Ministry

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People


“There are changes needed in the shape of pastoral culture. How can we realistically expect anyone in the middle of the sanctification process to live outside of one of God’s most important means of personal insight and growth [community, accountability] and be spiritually healthy at the same time? How can we ask pastors to confess what they, because of their isolation, don’t see?” (Paul David Tripp in Dangerous Calling)


This blog will be different than previous ones because it is not geared directly to those in ministry. Instead, it is geared toward loved ones (e.g. family and friends, small group members) around those who are in ministry. Tripp notes that there are changes needed in the pastoral culture around us. Often, congregation members can be tempted to place those in pastoral ministry (including their families) on spiritual pedestals. The assumption can be made that the pastor is always joyful, never angry, always open, and never struggles with sin. These are false assumptions. Those in pastoral ministry are fallen people, just like everyone else. Those in ministry also need the grace and forgiveness of Jesus. They too need the Savior. Congregation members may see ministerial staff (and their families) through the course of the week and assume that everything is “okay,” when in fact it is not.

 I learned so much wisdom and advice from my professors in seminary.  One of my professors shared this insightful statement: “Ask. Don’t Assume.” This principal extends to many different relationships. It is a helpful piece of communication as it relates to friendship, marriage, and to family relationships. It also applies to the community around those in ministry. So often small group members and congregation members may ask the ministry worker about the elements of the ministry and not about the person. For example, a member might ask, “How is ministry going?” instead of asking “How are you doing? How can I be praying for you?” These types of questions are important. So if you are reading this blog and are a friend, family member, or sit under the leadership of someone in ministry, what are some things that you can do to help encourage and support the one in ministry?

First, you can pray. Ask the person in ministry how he or she is. Though finding out about the details of the ministry is not a bad thing, do you ask about the person? Ask what specifically that you can be praying for in the life of that person.

Second, ask what the person is learning in his or her quiet time. This question presupposes two things. First, is the person spending time in the Word? It also allows for a personal account of what the one in ministry is learning. (For someone in ministry, the temptation may be to come to Scripture to focus on what the congregation should hear or a counselee needs to hear, rather than the personal need for the Word of Life.)

Third, (and this point will depend on the type of relationship you have with the one in ministry), ask specifically about any sin in which the person might be struggling. Part of sinful human nature is to keep things hidden. Sometimes a ministry worker may not feel the freedom to share unless asked the question. It is sometimes easier to share at through prompting than to share forthrightly. Be intentional with your questions. If one does share sin struggles, follow up with that person through accountability.

Ask. Don’t assume. Do not assume that your pastor is loving his wife and children well. Don’t assume that your pastor’s wife is not struggling with loneliness and isolation. Don’t assume that the one in ministry uses his or her time private time well or assume that everything is “okay” in his or her walk with God. Ask. All of us need the mercy and grace of the Father. All of us struggle with sin and need community and accountability. Through your asking intentional questions, you may be the one whom God uses to encourage and point the ministry worker back to Christ. We all need support, encouragement, and accountability. We all need to be reminded of the Father’s love and sovereignty in our lives.

Join us as we explore “Dangerous Calling” by Paul David Tripp.

To order a copy of your own of Paul Tripp’s book click on the link below.

535826: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles