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Thick Skin in Ministry

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

“If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?” – Acts 11:17 NAB

I was hurt again by a person in the church. It was my first year in full-time ministry, and several times I had already been wounded. Then, my two closest friends who had been in ministry for decades gave me profound wisdom.

With hearts full of love, they simply stated, “Ashley, if you are going to be in ministry, you are going to have to get thicker skin.”

Not many words impacted my life as much as those.

You will get hurt in ministry. Your family may be attacked. The enemy will come after you, the team, and your family. Sometimes, that pain can come from other believers. These are a few questions I have grown to ask when those times come up:

  1. Am I assuming the best in the other person? Meaning, am I giving the other person the benefit of the doubt that I would want? Maybe it was a rough day. Maybe something is hurting that person that I have no clue about.

  2. If I trust God is speaking to me, may I trust He is speaking to them too? We are not the only ones with God’s ear. In these situations, I go deeper into prayer and ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment.

  3. Is what is being said to me true? Is this person offering me true insight OR is it something I do not need to take on? An employee spoke a harsh criticism to me once, and I asked two other employees I trusted if it was truth. Both said no, that was not truth at all. Let’s be honest. Some people are not allowed to speak into your life if they are not trustworthy.

  4. All words may be permissible, but not all words are beneficial. Sometimes it is best to not engage. If I want to continue in a deep relationship with the other person, I will have that hard conversation. However, if it is an acquaintance, I will listen and not waste energy in an unnecessary debate.

The fact of the matter is sometimes to do the ministry we have to get thicker skin. Being a leader means maneuvering and ministering to many different people. That can be very trying and hurtful at times. In addition, it is a lonely position. If you are tired of going it alone, consider scheduling an appointment to learn more about Five Stone Mentoring Packages, and how we can walk with you.



Recommended Resources on this Topic:

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillian & Switzler

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Stone, Patton, & Heen

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero

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