Until very recently, Paul Kuzma has been on the pastoral staff of New Heart Foursquare Church in Simi Valley, CA. Paul was a staff member for the first twelve years, and lead pastor for the past seventeen years.
Paul is the creator of the PastorForLife.org website. Be sure to visit his website for his complete story, and much encouraging content!
Paul is also a listener to our podcast, and has encouraged us on several occasions! Paul's story is the story of many pastors. It's a story of health, burnout, and health again - and a story of faithfulness to the local church and the Lord.
A correction: Paul's story is similar, but many pastors don't make it back to the "health again" status. So this episode reveals how Paul, and his church, worked to get him back on track physically, spiritually, and perhaps most importantly, emotionally.
Paul is also a ministry representative for Pete Scazzero's ministry, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. Paul and his wife are headed to the east coast soon to head up a retreat ministry location for their denomination. That will be the subject of a future podcast episode with him in the fall of 2015.
Enjoy this episode with Paul, and our prayer is that you are both encouraged and helped by it, to avoid the burnout that plagues so many pastors!
Is ministry the thing you do for forty plus hours a week, or is ministry actually the life you live? I know, I know, how unhealthy if it were actually your life. Lopsided, out of balance, unsustainable – I can hear the cries!
We need boundaries, safeguards, and protections. We need to draw healthy lines in the sand so that our job does not consume us. We want to separate our work from our family life, our personal life, our social life, etc. We want to live a balanced, healthy life.
Is it fair to consider this, using Jesus as an example? He had a commission from the Father. “As the Father has sent me…” He came to this earth for one reason, one mission, not to have a life, but to sacrifice his life for us. Probably not a fair comparison?
How about thinking about this with Paul in mind. Yeah, sure, Paul balanced life and ministry. Paul was single and urged others to be so as well. He traveled on these journeys risking his life for the sake of the Gospel being delivered to the Gentiles.
He didn’t let ministry consume him. Kill him? Well yes, he tried and almost succeeded at that several times. Before he actually did succeed at allowing his calling from God to actually kill him.
Yeah, Paul is probably not a good example.
What in the world do you think? Is ministry a job or a life. Is it a part of our life or is it our life?
I know, you’ll qualify it. You’ll straddle the fence in your answer. You’ll say, “Yes and no”. Maybe it is both/and. That's what I would say and how I would answer.
But, more and more, for me, ministry is my life. It is what God has called me to. The Kingdom of God is paramount and I must live in it. Period.
Yes, I admit it. This is kind of heavy and burdensome on a Monday morning. But, I thought that if I had to struggle with it, you should have to as well! Don’t you think?!
How about this. How about, if you would, reply to this post – but with either a yes or a no. No qualifications, just decide which one would receive at least 51% of your vote, and reply with that. Yes or no.
No qualifications, explanations, disclaimers, or second words. Just one word replies.
Yes. Or. No.
Yes means: “Yes, ministry is my life”
No means: “No, ministry is my job”
Wow, I can’t wait until Wednesday when we can just have fun on the 200churches Podcast and do some heavy handed encouragement! :-)
Thanks for indulging me by reading this post. The older I (Jeff) get, it seems like the stakes just get higher in ministry. Your time gets shorter, and you want it to count. Ministry is what I've given my life to, and it seems to have become my life. Is that good? Or bad?
What do you think? There! Now I've just given you permission to answer with more than one word!
Happy Monday from Jeff & Jonny!
This is a very fun, encouraging, and informative episode with Dan Reiland, Executive Pastor of 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville GA, just outside Atlanta. We affectionately refer to Dan as Dan "the Animal" Reiland on this episode. Forgive us.
Dan talks about how his church launched five new campuses this past January, all on the SAME SUNDAY! Each campus was a public school, where they had to bring everything in, set up, then clean up and tear down when they were finished. Sound familiar to any of you?
During their conversation with Dan, Jeff and Jonny relate the principles he's sharing to the small church context. The title of this episode comes from one of Dan's comments about having to believe what he couldn't see, and having to believe God was going to help them in their endeavor. Faith. We all need it, no matter the size of our churches or projects!
We talked about a number of resources in this episode, all of which are linked to below by clicking on the images. The one immediately below, 12Stone Church, is an extra link to a FREE RESOURCES page on Dan's church's website. These are some fun extras that you can access by simply clicking on the image below.
Finally, Jonny reads a review by one of our listeners at the end of this episode, and Jeff has provided a YouTube video tutorial below on how to leave a rating and review on iTunes for the 200churches Podcast. If you haven't done that yet, go for it! If you've received anything of value from this podcast, please give us a rating and review on iTunes. It helps give our podcast more exposure in the iTunes podcast space.
Please, check out the links below after you enjoy Episode 113 - Launching Ministry Initiatives That Truly Require Faith!
Click on the 12Stone logo for free ministry resources from Dan's church!
Click on the images below to go to the resources we mention in this episode
These are some of the ideas and concepts discussed in this episode. I (Jeff) edited this episode tonight, March 10, 2015. Now, you must understand, I was involved in this conversation with Bill, just yesterday afternoon.
Yet, as I listened through this episode to edit it, it was like I was hearing this for the first time. God spoke to me through Bill's words. Bill Thrall, in this conversation, cuts right down to the roots of who we are as Christians and pastors. It doesn't get much more real, much more gut level, than this conversation.
THIS IS FOR YOU...
Jonny and I are so excited to share this SOLID GOLD material with you, Pastor! Most of our episodes you could listen to while doing other things like driving, exercising, etc. This episode would be one where you could just sit with a notepad and jot down reflections as you listen.
This could be a life changer for you Pastor. We love you. We want you to be healthy, whole, and strong. Listen, enjoy, and may God use this in your heart, life, and ministry.
I couldn’t so he did. He worked the barbs of the Hula Popper out of the fish’s mouth, and then he tried to hand the fish to me.
“Here Jeff, hold him like this. Just put your thumb in here on the bottom of his mouth, and your fingers on the underside, and you’ll paralyze him.”
“Won’t he bite me?”
“No, he won’t because he’ll be paralyzed – go ahead, take him.”
I tried. I really did. My hand moved toward the 17-inch large mouth bass, but I just couldn’t plunge my thumb into his gaping mouth!
“Jeff, don’t you trust me?”
Oh, come on Pastor, I thought. Don’t make it about that! Don’t make my touching this stinkin’ fish personal between us…
“Yes, I trust you.”
“Then go ahead, just take him – you caught him, you can put him on the stringer.”
When all was said and done, that dark Sunday night after the evening service, down at Mastin’s pond with my friend Hal, and the pastor’s wife and kids – I never touched that monster fish. I mean, I was only like ten years old.
The thing is… I’ve never touched a fish since then either! But that’s a story for my counselor…
MY PASTOR MY FRIEND
I lived in that small town for only two months after this man came to pastor my church, then we moved. Just two months.
Late one Sunday afternoon the Pastor stopped by my house and asked if I wanted to go fishing after the evening service (that I never attended), and if I did I could bring a friend. Of course I said yes. (It was always good to fish with others, so they could take my fish off the hook!)
I still remember that night, the dark moonless sky held a bright canopy of stars. The crickets chirped loudly in the weeds. Bullfrogs and small fish splashed the surface of the water.
“Jeff, on these dark nights it’s best to use black lures,” he said. “Why in the world would that be true?” I wondered back.
“Here’s why Jeff, take your hand, stretch it out and hold it above your head. See? See how it contrasts against the night sky? That’s what the fish sees. The blacker the lure, the better the contrast.”
Now that’s something I’ve never forgotten. I’ve never really used the information either – but I’ve never forgotten it! You know, when your dad never took you fishing, it didn’t take much to create a personal connection. My pastor noticed me. He cared. And that meant a lot to me.
I remember that night, and our many encounters after it. Eight years later I would live with this pastor and his family for almost four months. He invited me to help him at his church, which I accepted. I was there, I’m not sure how much help I was, but I learned a lot.
Thirty-five years after that night at the pond, I would stop at his house on my way to pick up my daughter from college. Hadn’t seen each other in twenty-five years! He was now an old man, and I was old enough.
While talking to his wife in the kitchen, he walked in from the backyard. Without saying a word we embraced, two pastors now, and I wept.
I couldn’t contain the emotions that welled up in me. This man, as flawed as we all are, had made a profound difference in my life, simply because he cared, and because he spent just a little time with me, and established a friendship.
STILL MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Hardly a week goes by when I am not influenced by that night at the pond. Will I stop and talk with a kid? Will I pay attention to a little girl who says, “Look Pastor, look what I made”? Will I give a teenager the time of day, saying hello and using his or her name?
You bet I will! I’m the pastor now. In forty years I want some men and women to write about how their pastor knew them, cared about them, and had influence in their lives. It really doesn’t take much to make a difference.
Of course, I’ll never take a kid’s fish off a hook. I mean, I do have limits.
Or will I?
“Bush...suffered from his lack of what he called ‘the vision thing,’ a clarity of ideas and principles that could shape public opinion and influence Congress. ‘He does not say why he wants to be there,’ complained columnist George Will, ‘so the public does not know why it should care if he gets his way.’”
You probably have to be 40 or over to remember this phrase as connected to President George H.W. Bush. We shouldn't feel too sorry for #41 though, because this idea has followed many a pastor into the study and the boardroom. Certain people expect for us to have a vision for the church.
Like President Bush, some of us struggle with "the vision thing" as well.
This episode of the podcast is a really fun one. Jonny and I talk about an idea that have finally executed at our church, then we have a conversation with Dave "the Animal" Jacobs on "the vision thing" in our 200churches.
Finally, we wrap up the episode expressing how we view vision in our own church. Particularly, I talk about how I think we should think about vision.
We hope that you enjoy it!
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