Being in ministry full time has a multitude of responsibilities for a man or a woman. We must have a deep understanding and knowledge of the Word of God. We must be a person who will do what is right, not just in ministry but in our personal life (be just), be full of love and compassion toward others (love mercy), and give God all the glory for anything you do or say (walk humbly) – Micah 6:8.
When I taught six years at Christian Life College, I told each class of students that they must understand that their time preaching behind the pulpit would be less than 10% of their activity in ministry, especially pastoring. I emphasized this in the Principles of Counseling subject.
Another major issue we must face is our own life history. If we come from a painful abusive/broken past life, we must seek our own emotional healing before we start to minister/counsel others. If we do not, then our dysfunctional past will definitely impact our ability to minister to the hurts of other people. What happens to us in our childhood is manifested in how we relate to others in our adult life including our relationships and vocation/ministry.
When we are born again of the water and the Spirit, God removes our sins. He puts our sins in a sea and forgets them. BUT, He does not remove our emotions or memories. They are in our inner VAT that contains all of life’s events. If there is great pain in our VAT that has not been processed through God’s truth, our thinking and relational patterns can be extremely dysfunctional.
I have been officially counseling for 21 years and in ministry over 50 years. I have witnessed many in ministry that hurt other people because they are hurting from the past. Some become spiritual abusers, dictators, controllers, mistrusting, and have trouble allowing others to flourish in their field of ministry, prideful spirit, anger issues, etc.
In my 21 years of counseling, I have counseled ministers (men/women) with sexual addictions, marital problems and relationship issues, etc. Many of these leaders were sexually abused in their childhood and the devil uses the pain from the past to tempt, lead into sin and cause major dysfunction.
Please do not tell others, “Just pray and give it to Jesus!” Yes, prayer is a major part of healing. But if you are not nurtured in how to change the way that you think about your life’s pain, your distorted thinking will hinder your ability to minister in a healthy manner.
The Bible says that we are ‘transformed by renewing our mind.’ A person who comes from an abusive childhood usually has internal negative feelings. They allow the negatives feelings to define who they are now. But those feelings are based on lies from Satan who desires to paralyze people’s potential for God. Some people portray anger, aggressiveness, and prideful attitude trying to ‘prove’ to others how great they are to God. The hurting heart is healed by God’s truth.
On the other hand, people who come from loving caring homes do not understand the hurting emotions of the abused. That is why we need education. We must learn how to use God’s Word as a healing tool to help others. Remember, salvation does not remove emotional pain; salvation removes our sins.
How can I be healed or learn how to be a healing helper? I recommend that all pastors/ministers be lifetime learners in becoming healing helpers for hurting people. We must become equipped through God’s Word to help others learn how to heal from their past and ‘grow up’ in God.
Books recommended: Healing for Damaged Emotions – David Seamands, The Door of Hope – Jan Frank, Search for Significance – Robert McGee, Breaking Free – Russell Willingham, How People Grow & Boundaries – Dr. Henry Cloud/Dr. John Townsend.
Carol Clemans is a Certified Pastoral Counselor/Christian Life Coach/inspirational Bible teacher/speaker for conferences and churches. She provides confidential nationwide phone/webcam counseling – (636) 448-0121. Go to: www.carolclemans.org for teaching CD’s, DVD’s, articles, book: GOD’S DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE.