5 Tips To Coping With Loneliness In The Ministry

Andrew Schank

From time to time, every pastor, missionary, and evangelist faces loneliness in the ministry. In the midst of a crowd, you can feel all alone. After great evangelistic campaigns, and promotions yielding great results, a pastor can feel like he has actually gained nothing but emptiness. How can one deal with these varying types of loneliness? Is there an answer?

Of course, the answer is YES! We know that there is no temptation or trial that is not common to every other person on this earth according to I Corinthians 10:13. In fact, in the same verse, God says that he will help us bear the trial. We know that God is a man of His word! You CAN cope with feeling lonely in the ministry! Below are 5 tips to coping with loneliness in the ministry.

(1 Corinthians 10:13) "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."  (KJV)

5 Tips To Coping With Loneliness In The Ministry

Tip #1 - Make A List Of Specific Things God Has Done For You Lately!

Whether the source of loneliness is from the death of a spouse, or the loss of a staff member to another ministry, God is always at work in our lives. One way to remind ourselves of this is to make a list of things, SPECIFICALLY, that God has done for us lately! No matter how dark you feel, you will cheer up when reflecting upon God's goodness!

Tip #2 - Spend More Time in Prayer!

Many times loneliness creeps into our lives because we have neglected our prayer time. My life has always been refreshed when I spent more purposeful time in my prayer closet. The only way I made it through the darkest week of my ministry (thus far) has been through prayer. It is amazing how God's presence can be felt when getting alone and pouring out your soul before Him.

Tip #3 - Meditate Upon The Scriptural Fact That You ARE Not Alone!

God's word is our one source of objective help in the midst of uncertainty and loneliness. Faith is increased in our lives as we fill ourselves with God's HOLY WORD! Though there are many passages we could mention, there is one verse that should serve to put a spring back into your step. Consider John 14:16...

(John 14:16) "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;"  (KJV)

Tip #4 - Spend Quality Time With A Friend In The Ministry!

Nobody knows a preacher like another preacher. When loneliness begins to paralyze you, be sure to call or visit a friend in the ministry. Even a few moments can mean everything! Usually you can bare your soul and get things off of your chest. Take advantage of this opportunity to get loneliness out of your way... for the moment!

Tip #5 - Make A List Of Needy People Who Need A Visit And Go Minister To Them!

Believe it or not, the best way to combat loneliness, in a very practical way, is to serve others. Sit down a make a list of needy people that you know. Go and spend some quality time with them and see if you don't stop feeling empty and lonely! Several of the widows in my home church have done this very thing. While this does not remove the void entirely, they do find that it helps them cope better! Pastor, you are no different!


While there is no quick fix to this issue sometimes, it is very important that one does not cover it up. Facing loneliness is the only way to deal with it, and the only answer for it is God!


Please share how you have dealt with loneliness in the ministry!


JTR said...

Good advice! Great post. Ppl in large urban areas forget or don't know how alone you can feel in a small country church, miles (and hours sometimes) away from other Christian workers. I have been thinking a lot about this since hearing a missionary mention how God always sent people out in groups of two. Why don't missionaries go in gourps of two anymore (like Judson and Rice...or Paul and Barnabus)...two men I mean, not husband and wife. I wonder how different church planting would be with another to help.

Andrew Schank said...

Thanks for the comment. As far as the two by two... I am in favor of that. I wish I had another male counterpart going with me to Nebraska!

Rick Schworer said...

I agree, the biblical New Testament pattern is going out two by two.

Andrew Schank said...

How could we change this or is this an area where the principle (church planting/soul-winning) is the same and the methodology (How the principle is carried out) can change? We knock on doors, but we also send out mailers, and leaflets in newspapers, etc. The early church, most likely, did not have this kind of avenue like we do today. We even have the great door of the internet to use.

Your thoughts...

JTR said...

Well, the missionary who mentioned it it said he had a hard time getting financing because ppl didn't want to have to support two men and families instead of just one. I think it has just become the cultural norm to send out a fmaily and think they should be able to do fine on their own. Perhaps too there are not many who would be willing to be a second man - they have too much drive and desire to do things their own way than to cooperate with another man.

I see a lot of benefits: from daily visitation partner, to someone who can help boost your spirits, and to be accountable to. I do know (I have been a P.K.) of different men who have come to my dad at times in the ministry and confessed for instance, being so discouraged that they hadn't witnessed or door knocked in weeks or even months. And that is just what I overheard as a child when my parents thought I wasn't listening. There are various verses (ie: proverbs) that would support two going together to help each other. I don't think esp. when discussing missions, that technology can take the place of a co-labourer in the Lord when it comes to how much more could be done if we followed the biblical model.

Perhaps some of it has to do with the role of the modern woman. Women have a lot more time (maybe not in 3rd world countries) with ovens/running water/washer and dryer, etc. so they are expected to do more ministry work on the field with their husband and sort of be the second man. Thoughts?

Andrew Schank said...

It would suffice to say that it is always best to stick with the Scriptural principle. You make very good points.

I can only add that because of American culture, in the last several decades, churches have softened in many ways. Though I am making a generalization, I am correct in believing that because of the mindset of many, missions has been under-equipped in proportion to the wealth of many local churches. Yet these same churches are "The Authority" when is comes to missions. Explain that one...lol

Anyway, God owns it all, calls those whom He wants, and, in spite of many of us, He gets the job done! AMEN!

JTR said...