Pastor’s Corner

A Pastor’s Perspective on Ministry

by

The Rev. Ralph McCune

 

It is a pleasure to welcome Ralph McCune to this web site to contribute these reflections on pastoral ministry.  Ralph has had a long and rich ministry already, including serving for nine and a half years on the staff of Young Life in Austin and Dallas, Texas, and for twenty-one years as the rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, in Garland, Texas.  

Ralph grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, did his university work at Baylor in Waco, Texas, and his seminary training at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, as well as at Columbia Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, with a year at New College in Edinburgh, Scotland.  He also took studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, and the Anglican School of Theology in Dallas. He was ordained in the Episcopal diocese of Dallas, and has made his ministry home there.

Ralph is married; his wife Jan is a first grade school teacher.  His son Joel is now also a school teacher, and his daughter Christi is a senior at Texas A & M, preparing to be certified in education as well.   Ralph has some other passions which you may hear about from time to time—bass fishing, photography (check out his site), golf, and model airplanes. 

The experiences that Father Ralph has had in his ministry and his life have provided him with a good platform from which he can share some very practical and solidly biblical insights into pastoral ministry and the Christian life in general.  This is the first part of his essay on encouragement; watch for part two and other essays in the future.  

“Encouragement for Those Who Give It”

 

Introduction

Very few Christian laypersons consider the enormous stress which comes quite naturally to those who serve in full-time Christian ministry.  And sadly enough, it is just possible that many of these Christian leaders might have their heads in the sand regarding this matter of stress in the ministry as well.

The Apostle Paul mentioned his own experience in this regard in 2 Corinthians 11:27-28, writing, “I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.  Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches” (NASB).  If it were not enough that this great Christian leader had to contend with the stress of the externals, there was the on-going stress of the ministry itself.

Stress, pressure—whatever we wish to call this burdensome thing—has been around a long time.  And those who serve in the vineyard of God’s service must realize that having this pressure is neither abnormal nor sinful.  But they must also learn how to deal with it.  Why?  Because stress does not just go away.  And the things it leads to will have a negative effect on their ministries.

Having served in that vineyard for over thirty-six years I am well aware of the pressures that fall on those who minister as full-time servants of Christ.  And I also have the greatest appreciation, with incalculable thanks to God, for those who from all walks of life were there to give me a word of encouragement when I needed it.

Hopefully this series, “Encouragement for Those Who Give It,” will be of help to any Christian leader who just might be hungry for a word of encouragement.

Acknowledging the Need for Encouragement

Learning to Accept Encouragement

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