Here are 10 things I'm thankful for as a church leader this week. I shared this as part of a devotional at my church.
1. Thank you, Lord, for saving me, and for your sanctifying work in my heart.
The day I feel like I've arrived is the day I stop leading people deeper into Christ. Don't ever let me get over the shock of the Gospel, or the hunger for more holiness. Don't let me "level off" or go into maintenance mode. Let my gratitude motivate me to continually surrender my body as a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1-2)
2. Thank you, Lord, for calling me to serve your people as a pastor.
It's a privilege to help the Great Shepherd care for His sheep. They sometimes are smelly... but then, I think I'm probably the same to You at times. What an honor it is to be in the employ of Jesus Christ himself.
3. Thank you, Lord, for my spouse.
She could have done anything, but she was willing to live in an exemplary way as a pastor's wife... in the "fishbowl." Thank you for how she's been willing to serve God's people in that way. Thank you for her unselfish commitment to the Kingdom and me. Thank you for her training work with our children, and her influence with them. Help me to live with her in an understanding way, and love her like Christ loves his Church.
4. Thank you, Lord, for my family.
They take the benefits and sacrifices with grace and sweetness. Thank you for their potential, their love, their patience with me. Thank you for their lives and examples and influence. Please help me be faithful to them, and to pastor the little church in my home first.
5. Thank you, Lord, for my successes.
They keep me trusting that I'm making a difference. Thank you for giving me enough hits to have the courage to keep swinging the bat.
6. Thank you, Lord, for my failures.
They keep me humble, and learning. Thanks for helping me not be destroyed by them. Thank you that I'm not always right. It helps me, and reminds me that I need you desperately. When I fall, help me learn to pick up something while I'm down there.
7. Thank you, Lord, for the volunteers who serve with me.
These faithful servants lift the load in so many ways. Bless them today, and make their reward great. Let them feel my gratitude and Your smile.
8. Thank you, Lord for the people who willingly follow.
It's such a blessing to have some who gladly do right. Sorry I sometimes forget them in the rush to go after those who stray. Thank you that everyone is not wandering or resisting. They bring such joy to me in my work as a pastor.
9. Thank you, Lord, that my self-worth is not wrapped up in what people think of me.
I rest in what you see. I rest in your definition of success. People don't have to like me... or my preaching... or vote for me... or give in the offering... or support my latest idea... for my ministry to be acceptable in your sight.
10. Thank you, Lord for strengthening my resolve.
When I think that I can't go on, you step in and strengthen me. I'm grateful.
Gratitude's Place in Discipleship
Gratitude has so many benefits for discipleship. It lowers anxiety, honors God, increases emotional resilience, and more.
If you're a church leader, do you have a clear discipleship plan? If you don't, you might want to check out the NewStart Discipleship resources subscription.
Here's a graphic of everything included: