(December 20, 2022) Dr Robert McQuillan encourages a troubled pastoral couple …
Dear Dr Robert
I apologise that this is going to be a long letter.
My wife and I are ministers, like you and Maureen. We’ve always enjoyed this calling, despite challenges that are involved – many of which we can’t or won’t share with our church. I’m sure you too have found that some church members can be very unkind and unthoughtful when they learn their ministers have needs. I don’t mean financial ones, although to be honest sometimes we can be disappointed when we hear some members don’t contribute to our church, but donate heavily to ‘prosperity doctrine’ preachers.
No, I’m particularly thinking of other concerns – we’re not as young as we used to be and both seem to get attacked by sicknesses we never thought about before. In fact we used to pray for people going through similar sicknesses and God would gloriously answer our prayers. Now we find ourselves not wanting to mention our needs in case we’re accused of losing our faith!
Although we don’t blame the devil for everything, as some do, it seems to us that he’s trying to discourage us to the point of wanting to vacate our ministry, especially as our children are a concern in all of this. John and Joanna Smith (Not real names, and aware you’ll be running your answers in your magazine so as to help others).
Thank you for sharing. I only wish more ministers in your circumstances would share (could share with some good, trusted listener/adviser instead of feeling alone)! I’m glad that finances don’t upset you. Yes, churchgoers should contribute to their spiritual home, not to prosperity-doctrine preachers, especially if they’re considered false teachers/prophets. And churches should correctly stipend their ministers, especially where funds are plenteous! But keep trusting the Lord, looking to Him in all things, just not finance.
Incidentally, what I’m going to say hereunder is in such a way that I trust it…
a) Blesses you two, and causes readers to be aware of things that their pastors face and have to handle – and to really care for them, pray for them… their marriage, family, needs.
b) Also help non-pastoral Christians in their journey in Christ.
Re that spiritual enemy, the devil… yes he’s always around and is to blame for many things that go wrong. Satan will always attack us some way, whether we’re ministers or not! And not just through our children but our own lives and marriage when we dare to share about the Lord on any godly subject!
Five things here, folks (remembering that we always have the power of choice!)…
1. Be a lifelong good parent – pray every day for your kids, and in turn their kids, spouses and consequently their kids! We even pray for our great-granddaughter, especially as we know what she’ll have to face even before her teenage/adult life! Let them all know that you’ll always be there for them, right to the end of your being around (and no matter where/how/what they may do, become… even if they go wrong in some areas)! Teach them about the enemy’s subtleness.
2. In old age or seniority or whatever you may call it(!), Satan attacks more cunningly than before, or in more subtle, tricky ways, especially if you’re determined to go on servicing God! Stand your ground! Did I ever share that some months back when I was still recuperating from my last (big) op and was considering giving up my literati work, never mind counselling, the Lord challenged me to do more ghosting (modern for ghostwriting) than ever before? Foolishly (he, he), I said, ‘Okay, Lord’ not knowing what I was letting myself in for! Won’t go into details (eg. Penning a 1900-word article from about supplied 6 or 10 lines, research, Bible version checking, making it ‘sound’ just as he or she talks/writes and more!)… boy oh boy, has life been so involved and hectic never mind trying ever since (with the enemy trying to defeat me again and again). I am so grateful to the Holy Spirit that I call my ghostwriting HolyGhostwriting! I’d be lost without Him… and I encourage you to rely on Him!
3. Illnesses. As Maureen wrote recently, it’s a fact that one hears more and more over the past two years about senior ministers (like ourselves) who have always taught divine healing coming down with illnesses, some incurable or untreatable, and they having to refrain from ministering around. So folks, again we must stand our ground, trust the Lord and soldier on despite whatever come against us!
4. Not just Satan – sometimes ‘friends’ – will challenge what we teach, believe. Know in your heart what the word of God says and stand on it!
5. Satan will particularly attach marriages, sometimes in very subtle ways… and I don’t mean ‘external marriage relationships (Although that has happened to some big names!). Go on loving and caring for each other, through thick and thin. We all make mistake… especially we men! Of all the issues Jesus could have highlighted re the prayer He taught His disciples, the one thing He drew attention to was the importance of forgiving! This is so relevant in marriage, especially where a couple in ministers! I recall one minister’s wife who, when something went wrong and he was beginning to react, would stop him by holding his head tightly in her hands so he couldn’t mutter on, and ask, ‘Will this matter in five years, ten years’ time?’ He would instantly calm down, they would cuddle and get on with life. Get the point? Remember that power of choice – choose to do the right thing!
Got a question for Dr Robert or Pr Maureen McQuillan? Email either: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com