It is not uncommon for pastors and church leaders to deal with fear – fear of criticism, fear that we may not be adequate to the task, fear of confrontation, and so on. Fear can be crippling if we allow it to consume us.

In an article for LifeWay Pastors, Rob Hurtgen shares four ways to deal with fear in our lives and ministries:

Recognize and redirect your fear. After being forced to leave the Admiralty in World War I, Winston Churchill experienced the darkest of his “black dog days.” He not only recognized his emotional state but also began to redirect his attention and his emotions through painting, a pastime he enjoyed throughout his life.

Recognizing fear is a key to pressing back negative fear. Positive fear keeps us alive. Fear of falling off a cliff when hiking in the mountains redirects your steps further from the edge. The fear of having an automobile crash ensures you to put your seatbelt on. These are positive reactions to legitimate fears because fear was identified and responded to. The same steps need to be applied to other times of fear. When fear raises its ugly head recognize it and respond in an appropriate manner for your good and God’s glory.

Confront fear with scripture. Paralyzing fear is not of God (2 Timothy 1:7). Joshua was commanded not to be afraid (Josh. 1:9) Jesus asked the apostles why they were afraid (Mark 4:40). We need to remind ourselves that negative fear can keep us from obeying the Lord and causes us to question His providence is not of Him. We must do battle with the fear within with the sword of the His word.

Ask is there any legitimacy to your fear. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons to your fear. Fear that the sermon is falling flat may reflect a lack of preparation or a need to intentionally seek training in sermon preparation and delivery. Fear that leadership is inadequate may prompt an opportunity to grow as a leader. Asking if there is any legitimacy to this feeling of fear and then embracing what is legitimate and discarding what illegitimate is a healthy response to fear.

Finally, seek a dear friend who will be counsel and partner with you in prayer. Often by articulating the cause of your fear with another you will see the cause and healthy response. When you have a comrade to link arms with in prayer fear is much easier to press back.” [Read the full article]




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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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