Over the past two months, it has been my privilege to attend numerous state convention annual meetings—preaching, teaching, hosting Gateway events, and interfacing with pastors and other leaders. A common theme in both the meetings and the conversations has been the wearisome ministry season pastors and other leaders have endured since the pandemic began. To put it in a phrase, ministry leaders—particularly pastors—are weary and worn down.

While there are many reasons for this, one of the primary sources of emotional depletion among pastors is dealing with petty conflicts between church members over issues like masks, vaccines, and other pandemic-related issues. Pastors are shepherds who prefer to keep watch over peaceful flocks. They are also peacemakers—people who promote peace—rather than look for ways to stir up dissension. When trouble comes among their followers, it takes an emotional toll on pastors and other leaders.

One biblical leader recorded his experience about the impact of conflict among his followers on him. Paul appealed to the Philippians (2:2) to “make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” A leader’s joy is affected by the way his followers treat each other, not just the way they treat the leader. When a pastor has members arguing, debating, or disputing with each other, he pays an emotional price. Church division is a joy-sucking distraction for a pastor.

Seminary presidents are not pastors, but we still lead religious communities. The spiritual maturity of the Gateway community during the pandemic has been energizing for me as their leader. While our employees and students have many opinions on pandemic-related issues, they have consistently kept our mission at the forefront and worked hard to minimize divisive debates about extraneous issues. They have given me the gift of deference and support.

Give your pastor and other church leaders the same holiday gift this year. Stop needless arguments over divisive issues. Recognize pastors and other leaders are making hard decisions about nebulous issues with almost no frames of reference or best practices to guide their choices. Determine to support your pastor and other leaders, with humility and deference, rather than add to their burden by sharing your joy-robbing opinions on “what they ought to do.”

Pastors are dutiful shepherds. Most have stayed faithful during the pandemic, fulfilling their calling and providing pastoral care to hurting people. They have demonstrated supernatural patience and remarkable endurance. Stand with your pastor by choosing to be a cooperative part of their flock. By doing so you add to their joy and contribute to their resiliency. That’s a Christmas gift every one of us can give this year.

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A Perfect Opportunity

Dr. Iorg expresses why he loves living in the West and in particular Southern California. The need for the gospel is great and Dr. Iorg encourages others to do more work in areas that may not be so comfortable for Christians.

Jeff Iorg
Dr. Jeff Iorg is the president of Gateway Seminary. Prior to his service at the Seminary, Dr. Iorg was the Executive Director of the Northwest Baptist Convention for almost ten years. He was also the founding pastor of Greater Gresham Baptist Church in Gresham, Oregon, and has served as a pastor in Missouri and a staff pastor in Texas.

The Lord’s Dinner

The first-century churches, when they met, ordinarily ate a proper meal together, a meal including the bread and the cup, and this meal was at the heart of their common life and worship.

John W. Taylor
Director, Academic Graduate Studies Program | Chair, Biblical Studies | Professor of New Testament
Dr. John Taylor serves as chair of biblical studies and professor of New Testament at Gateway Seminary. Dr. Taylor earned a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies at the University of Cambridge with a research interest in Pauline Studies.


10 Questions with 10 Pastors
March 20, 2023

Ruben Reyes III

Ruben Reyes III joins this episode of Ten Questions with Ten Pastors to discuss church planting, developing leaders in the church and preaching. Reyes planted Solid Rock in Claremont, California, then transitioned from

Lead On Podcast
March 19, 2023

Making Ministry Marriage Work with Ann Iorg – Part 2

In this second part of this two part podcast, Dr. Iorg talks with his wife, Ann Iorg, about some important lessons they have learned about making ministry marriage work. 


Spirituality of Jonathan Edwards | JEC at Gateway Seminary

Dr. Chris Chun hosted a digital symposium with Dr. Michael Haykin and Dr. Robert Caldwell to discuss Edwards’ spirituality, devotional life and theological impact in American Christianity.

Chris Chun
Professor of Church History | Director, Jonathan Edwards Center
Dr. Chris Chun is the professor of Church History and the director of Jonathan Edwards Center at Gateway Seminary. Chris’ doctoral research at St. Andrews University was focused on the eighteenth-century Edwardsean Baptists in Britain. He also has served as president of The Evangelical Theological Society (Far West Region).

Faculty Dialogues: Dispensationalism or Not

In this episode of Faculty Dialogues, Dr. David Rathel and Dr. Paul Wegner held a live discussion on their views on dispensationalism.

David Rathel
Associate Professor of Christian Theology
Dr. Rathel is the associate professor of Chrisitian Theology at Gateway Seminary. Prior to Gateway, Dr. Rathel supplied pastoral care to churches in the United States and Scotland, served as an Adjunct Professor of Theology and Philosophy for the Baptist College of Florida, and provided teaching assistance for the University of St Andrews.

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