If you are physically laid aside, should you quit the ministry?

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Pergamum, Feb 9, 2019.

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  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Question: If you are physically laid aside, should you quit the ministry? Do you lack some vital qualification if you are too well to minister for a time? Should you give up the ministry for a time and then seek to be restored?
  2. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Pergy, are we assuming that an illness is providentially hindering the person from performing his ministerial duties?
  3. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    I'm sure things vary case to case, but especially if health was lost in service to Christ, I don't think supporters would want to send the message that the sick minister should just be dropped now that they're suffering. I'm also not sure how a sick person is supposed to recover if they have to find some other vocation.

    But surely a minister who has become really sick should not be under pressure to engage in ministry while recovering? That works against being able to recover. I can't help thinking that a sufficiently long period for a complete break, at the end of which it's more possible to assess, would be better than just trying to make a decision (how can you know if rest will help with recovery if someone is not allowed to fully rest -- even from mental pressures of needing to engage and produce?)
  4. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    While it’s not entirely clear, many believe that Paul’s thorn in his side was some sort of physical ailment. I thank God that Paul did not quit the ministry because of it.
  5. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior


    If one is unable to minister for a time, due to ailments physical, mental, emotional, etc., but still desires to do so, it seems preferable to continue as a minister and return to ministry when able rather than demit and seek re-ordination.

    Demission, which is voluntary divestiture (deposition is involuntary), should not ordinarily be sought if one intends or desires to take up ministry when well. Demission historically occurs only when one does not intend or desire to resume ministry.

    In all cases, however, there are two factors: one's own desires and the judgment of the body to which one is accountable and in which one's ministerial credentials reside. That body may determine that the disability is permanent, not temporary, and may request the minister to demit (or depose him if he will not and that body remains convinced that he must).

    The point is this: if one wishes to continue in ministry after regaining health, and his credentialing body agrees, he should continue as a minister. Leaving ministry and seeking re-ordination is not ordinary procedure and should never be adopted as a plan. Only voluntarily leave ministry if you don't forsee resuming such--all in cooperation with and submissive to your credentialing body.

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  6. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Some of them.
  7. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member


    I had to ask. Alan gave a very wise response. If a minister is having serious or debilitating physical/health problems, they should be addressed. If they can be treated while continuing in regular ministerial duties, that is fine. If an accommodation can be made to shift some duties to other laborers, either temporarily or permanently, that may be a possible remedy. If that is not possible and the physical/health problems are causing ministry and family life to suffer, I am of the opinion that the physical/health problems should be given priority. If the minister is a missionary can they request a sabbatical allowing them time to receive treatment and recover? I know that may be very difficult for a missionary in the field. The same thing goes for a person in a pastoral ministry or teaching profession.
  8. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I am writing and managing the funding of teachers/nurses/evangelists, and advising from afar. But I am just not recovering. I have invites for me to go and preach many places, but I cannot even get out of bed some days until 2pm. I am finishing a book and writing and several of my churches advise me that resting and writing are my main focuses now. My liver, spleen, and gallbladder are all still swollen, I have high rates of mercury in my blood, am peeing out protein, and my thyroid no longer works, and I have insomnia due to chronic severe pain.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  9. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior


    I've known people who changed vocations from "the ministry" to secular work, and it appeared to be the calling of God and His blessing was upon the new direction. So you can give up "the ministry" even if you are not sick; being sick does not necessarily have anything to do with it. But you are in no shape to make an unbiased decision right now.

    What does your wife think? And have you gotten rid of parasites by the way?

    I am doing very well after 20 months on meds for Graves disease, but during the period when my thyroid levels swung from way high to too low I felt like a slug (I am generally energetic) and like a cloud of lethargic gloom hung over me for months. I honestly think it was medical and not spiritual because it went away when they got my blood levels normal. There is no possible way you can make big decisions intelligently with lack of sleep and low thyroid and pain and all the rest. Please relax and don't even think about this decision until you are doing better. My opinion only, I could be wrong.

    If you are planning to come back to the states you really need to get moving on applying for SS disability. That can take a while and you sure sound like you qualify. Maybe you can get it even if living abroad? Please look into it.

    So sorry, will keep praying.
  10. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    My wife says make no decisions right now and listen to people telling me to simply rest and write. Don't overthink it. Recover and get back in the fight. And that many missionaries before us died, so why do we think we are any better.
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  11. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Do listen to your wife, Pergy.

    In my own experience of being pretty low where even emotions take a physical toll -- getting online (even here) can add emotions or tensions that do not contribute to recovery -- this is something many don't understand. I get in so worn out that I have to protect my empathy from overload (even the good joyful kind -- it all takes a physical toll; definitely for me conflict takes a toll). It might be the same for you and resting is your 'job' right now, for your family as much as for your future opportunities for ministry. Maybe ask Teresa about that too? To help you notice if you're doing 'extra' things that add stress and sap your ability to rest and recover. Ruben is better at noticing such things for me than I am. :)

    It can seem very silly -- the things that overload. Ie, I had a short outing Thursday and have been struggling to stand up without the world going black, or even to sit up since. I had to go sit on the floor during the service this morning because I couldn't manage in the pew. It's hard to explain even to myself (gratefully my church family is wonderfully understanding). But under such conditions focus with the strength one has is absolutely vital, and it's the same in recovery as long term. I hope this doesn't come across as if I think I know what is best for others. Everyone has suggestions about these things, just longing to help a little -- me too apparently. But all we can do is share our own experience in case it helps, and pray -- and sympathise. And we do. You're very dear to all of us here. Recovery takes time! God has a plan in that, too.
  12. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Thank you.
  13. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I agree with the advice to rest--what I question is the advice to write. Do you feel like you are getting adequate rest with your writing, managing, and advising?
  14. gjensen

    gjensen Puritan Board Freshman

    My instincts say to seek better health care in the States so that you can return to your ministry. The Mayo Clinic would have you diagnosed and on a treatment plan in very short order. They are very fast. The only delay would be the time some tests require. It could be as fast as 3-5 days. All of the specialists are at one location, and they try to work you through while you are there. Most people are coming from out of town. There is one in Phoenix, one in Rochester Minnesota, and one in Jacksonville Florida.

    How long have you not been improving while resting there?

    If you are advising them remotely there, advise them remotely here.

    Then you will know what you are dealing with, and the prognosis.

    I hope that I have not been too forward. We are praying for you and your ministry. Like you, I trust our Lord and His providence.
  15. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    No. The wife says to keep writing for the sake of keeping motivated but to rest when needed. She knows how I tick. She reminds me that my "ministry" duties now, as given by the churches and my sending church, are to rest, and write when able. So she dissuades me from any speaking becuase it might excite my nervous system (when I have any sort of appt I cannot sleep the night before). My adrenal glands are not working the doc says. But she encourages me to write.
  16. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Do you include your advice to churches/missionaries as part of your writing?

    The reason I ask is that it seems like you need a break from mission work--including mission work done remotely via letters, phone calls, emails, etc. You're so invested in the work that it's hard to believe that you can be involved at all without getting worked up about it.
  17. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I don't think I want to take a break. I'd like to stay as involved as possible. If I can sleep 8-10 hours and play with the kids, then I can also spend the rest of the time writing or mild exercise or writing to people. Id' like to get back into the game and not sit on the sidelines. There is a stress to it, yes. But there is also joy.
  18. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)


    I am at one of the best places in the world, or at leat SE Asia: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/...Syc90YSb96i9oBRY2xM2G-NIY_eHMU3CThhuq8NaXndFE

    The docs say that a diagnosis is not the problem. Only that the recovery will take a while because I was so damaged. "It will take several month to bounce back..." was the virtually identical quote from 2 different docs here. I am recovering very slowly. There is steady progress. Just very slow.
  19. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Perhaps a sabbatical is more appropriate than just quitting. It basically sounds like you're on one already without calling it that.
  20. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Yes, it is a "medical leave" more like it. A switch to admin duties until I can be back in the jungle.
  21. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Ok. I also agree with your wife. Keep writing. You have an important story to tell, not only of your mission work, but the story of that infant church in that part of the world. One day people will want to look back and know how it all started, the lessons learned, the important participants, and so on. Who better than you to start writing it down?
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