Three Reasons Criticism Can Lead to Ministry Burnout

Ministry is a rich and rewarding vocation—until it’s not. For most of the ministry leaders I know, any idyllic notions they had of life as a pastor lasted about three weeks into their call. The honeymoon phase of ministry ends and real life sets in as the tide of warm smiles and kind compliments goes out, leaving behind rocks of criticism and complaint. If you’re lucky in ministry life you will be buoyed along with enough compliments and encouragement, only occasionally experiencing the pain that comes from stepping on a sharp rock of criticism. If you’re not so lucky, you’ll grimace with every step because overly critical people litter your way with painful remarks and sharp jabs.

American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion

American exceptionalism is the notion that America is special among the nations. This notion has deep theological roots, tracing at least as a far back as John Withrop’s famous “A Model of Christian Charity” sermon in 1630 during which he cast a vision for his fellow Massachusetts Bay colonists to embrace their role in establishing a “city upon a hill” – an image taken directly from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:14).