Posted tagged ‘Marriage Counseling’

Your Safety Comes First

February 16, 2012

Fire helmetI’ve been involved in volunteer Fire and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) since I was a teenager. This has allowed me a very natural way to become part of my community and I am currently serving our local volunteer fire department as the first assistant chief as well as being an EMT with the ambulance. It is often said in Fire and EMS that your own safety must come first. It’s very easy to focus only on the immediate problem at hand and forget about looking for potential hazards. It’s natural to look only at the victim trapped in the wrecked car and not see the live electrical lines from the broken utility pole lying nearby. It’s natural to see only the burning building and ignore the propane tank that could possibly explode. If I do not look for, and take action against, possible dangers, then I myself could become a victim. If I become a victim, then that means I cannot help whomever it was that I came to help. If I become a victim, that also means the resources that were intended to help someone else now need to be used to help me. If I want to be an effective firefighter, then I must make sure that my own safety comes first.

The same thing could easily be said for those of us in rural ministry. Our own safety must come first if we wish to help those around us. Obviously we don’t have to worry about live electrical lines or exploding propane tanks, but there are hazards that are just as real and potentially just as dangerous. Recent statistics show that approximately 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention within the church. These issues are very preventable, as long as they are recognized and dealt with properly. The problem is that we can sometimes be so focused on the crisis at hand that we do not realize the dangers and run the risk of becoming victims ourselves.

When we become victims, we cannot help those to whom we are called to help. When we become victims, resources that were intended to help others must now be used to help us. And unlike many instances in Fire and EMS, the consequences of us as rural ministers becoming victims often leads to negative eternal consequences for those we are supposed to help. It is paramount that we take the necessary steps to insure our own safety while we fulfill God’s call on our life.

None of us entered the ministry thinking that we would have a moral failure or burn out, yet it’s happening to 1,500 of us each month. Of course we never think it will happen to us, it’s always the “other pastor.” One of the first things we must realize is that we are not infallible. That the laws of life and ministry apply to us just as much as the next pastor. Over the next three weeks we will be taking a look at the big three safety hazards of pastors (moral failure, burn out, and contention within the church) and what we can do to effectively deal with these problems.

I know that the whole concept of “your safety comes first” seems to contradict what we’ve always been taught. I’m sure all of us have heard at one time or another the lesson on J.O.Y. Which, of course, stands for Jesus, Others, You. If I put my own safety first, does that mean that I’m putting myself before others? Not at all. I would argue that in order to consistently put others before ourselves that we must put our safety first. We must make sure that our emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being is where it needs to be before we can ever hope to effectively serve others.

What about you? What potential dangers do you see in your ministry and what steps can be taken to avoid them? Leave a comment below.

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Rural Resource – Marriage part 2

June 13, 2011

Each Monday on the Rural Ministry Blog I post a book review, article link, website link, or any other type resource that I think would be of interest to the Rural Ministry community.

Today I want to continue last weeks topic of marriage resources.  In fact, today’s resource is, in my opinion, one of the greatest tools a pastor could have in his arsenal of marriage counseling resources – the Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage DVD series by Pastor Mark Gungor.  I can honestly say that this DVD series changed the way that I approached marriage counseling and increased my effectiveness tremendously.

Pastor Gungor very humorously and effectively deals with some of marriages biggest issues and goes into great detail on the differences in how men’s brains and women’s brains are wired.  He also does a fantastic job dealing with topics like communication & sex, all in a very humorous and entertaining fashion.  I could go on and on touting the benefits of this DVD series but I think the best way for you to find out how great it is would be to watch a clip that I found on YouTube about the whole “Men’s Brains/Women’s Brains” issue.

 

The Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage DVD costs $59.99 and in my opinion is worth every penny.  You can purchase it by clicking here (uncompensated link)

There are other marriage resources by Pastor mark Gungor that I will be writing about in the future.  If you are aware of any resources, marriage or otherwise, that would be of interest to the Rural Ministry Blog community please let me know!

Disclaimer: The books and articles mentioned on the Rural Ministry Blog are things that I feel contain content relevant to the Rural Ministry community.  This does not necessarily mean that I fully embrace or support everything that the author embraces or supports.  For more information on this topic please read this Rural Ministry blog post – Eat the Meat and Spit Out the Bones

Rural Resource – Marriage part 1

June 6, 2011

I do an extensive amount of reading and often come across very interesting books, articles, blog posts, etc. Each Monday I will be posting a book review or article link that I think would be of interest to the Rural Ministry community.

When I became a pastor I was expecting to preach and teach and felt that I was pretty well prepared to do it. What surprised me was how much counseling I found myself doing. In a rural setting there are not many licensed counselors so the natural reaction of many people is to go to their pastor any time there are problems in their life, family, or marriage. I don’t know about you, but I found myself pretty unprepared for a lot of the counseling that I was being asked to do. I started reading books, listening to teaching tapes, and asking the advice of several people experienced in this area. Through this time of learning I ran across several very good resources. What I want to do over the next few Mondays is share some of the best resources on marriage and relationship counseling that I have discovered.

Today’s resource has been out for some time and is one that I’m sure many of you already have in your library – a book by Dr. Gary Chapman called The Five Love Languages. In my opinion this book is a must read for all pastors. I can honestly say that the concepts in this book radically changed my relationship with my wife and transformed our marriage from a good one to a great one!

The basic concept in the book is that people express and receive love in different ways. Just like there are different spoken languages in the world, there are different “love languages” as well. One of the keys to a great marriage is discovering your spouse’s “love language” and speaking it to them often. Dr. Chapman goes through these different love languages in detail and helps you discover your own love language as well as the love language of your spouse.

The Five Love Languages is available in printed format as well as for the Kindle. You can purchase the book by clicking here

Disclaimer: The books and articles mentioned on the Rural Ministry Blog are things that I feel contain content relevant to the Rural Ministry community.  This does not necessarily mean that I fully embrace or support everything that the author embraces or supports.  For more information on this topic please read this Rural Ministry blog post – Eat the Meat and Spit Out the Bones