How to Manage Your Emotions in Ministry

How Ministers Can Manage their Emotions as Christian Leaders

“A fool expresses all his emotions, but a wise person controls them” (Pro 29:11 GW).

By M. Mooney, ministry practitioner


Emotions are one of the greatest forces in all the world.  In response to them we choose spouses, friends and even make enemies.  By them some cry tears of joy while others laugh with hatred in consideration of revenge.  Emotions drive some to raise weapons at fellow humans, while emotions cause others to bandage the wounds of war torn refugees.  Whether or not we are willing to accept their power in our lives, emotions are here to stay.  They are a fundamental aspect of the human experience, and they will continue to shape human behavior.

Emotions and Leadership Development in Ministry 


While some would like to think that ministers are super humans, we are not exempt from these feelings either.  We become angry about injustices; sorrowful for our sinful mistakes, and at times, we lack enthusiasm for ministering to others.  Further, the enemy of our souls knows how to push our buttons and he plays dirty by using our families to do it. After all, even Jesus said that a prophet is not accepted in his own town (Luke 4:24).  

Pastors who preach on Sunday mornings are very aware of how distracting their home lives become just before church.  If ever there is a time to have an argument with our spouses, or find the need to discipline our children, it will be in the last few hours before we are scheduled to preach.  Then, as predictable as the hands of a clock, we will hear a voice saying: “you call yourself a preacher?”  “How could you possibly minister to others when you cannot minister to yourself?”  By these questions of doubt, the enemy hopes to reduce our morale, weaken our confidence, and quench our fire.  

Paul says that we must put away the emotions of anger, hatred, and hot tempers (Col 3:8).  However, in so doing we should not make the mistake of pretending that our emotions are not real, nor should we think that anger is a sin.  Paul differentiates between the two saying, “be angry without sinning.  Don’t go to bed angry.  Don’t give the devil any opportunity to work” (Eph 4:26-27 GW). Here we see permission to recognize our anger.  But then we are instructed to deal with the emotion quickly, and without behaving in a way that hurts others.

How should we respond?


Throughout the life of Jesus’ ministry we see him expressing emotions.  He even wept with the people over the death of Lazarus, knowing that in a few moments he would raise him from the dead.  In Luke 4:16-20, Jesus says that his ministry is to repair the brokenhearted.  And the author of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus “is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he didn’t sin.” (4:15 GW).  

How to Manage Your Emotions in Ministry


Recognize 

First we should take a deep breath and recognize the way in which we are feeling.  To pretend like we are not feeling only leads to temporary numbness and suppressed anger that will vent elsewhere when we least expect it.

Remember

As ministers, when we find ourselves in emotional overload, we must remember that the Lord is the first person with which we should speak about it. His can sympathize with our condition, and he desires to heal our brokenness.  

Cast 

Peter says that we are to “cast” our cares upon the Lord who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).  In other words, ministers should throw it all on Jesus –even if that means screaming at the sky during prayer.

Perform 

After doing these things, it is time to put on a happy face in faith, and perform the work of the ministry.  Sure we may feel disingenuous, but this is exactly what the enemy hops will distract us from service.  Rather, we must hold onto the promise that God is faithful to complete the good work that He started in us through Christ Jesus (Php 1:6).  No matter how we feel at that moment, “A fool expresses all his emotions, but a wise person controls them” (Pro 29:11 GW).  This applies just as much from the podium as it does anywhere else in life.  Frankly, I find it comforting.


For similar content to this article, check out our Leadership Journal

November 12, 2012

12 responses on "How to Manage Your Emotions in Ministry"

  1. Praise God! I thank the Lord for N.A.C.M because we deal with everything that affects ministry head on. The only way to deal with things! Lord continue to bless all members of N.A.C.M and their families, friends, and enemies. Amen!

  2. This article was very helpful. Thanks N.A.C.M!

  3. I am so blessed to have been invited to this fellowship of believer's may God continue to bless the words of encouragement and the encourages threw the word of God in Jesus Name.

  4. These and other item posted here are exactly what are needed. I am really proud to be associated with the NACM. May the Lord continue to bless this organization and its leadership

  5. Thank you N.A.C.M. for the service you are providing to independent ministries. I am grateful God led me this way. I am impressed by the articles and the issues being dealt with.
    May God continue to Bless

  6. Truly blessed by this Bro. Michael.

    "Sure we may feel disingenuous, but this is exactly what the enemy hops will distract us from service. Rather, we must hold onto the promise that God is faithful to complete the good work that He started in us through Christ Jesus."

    This is what I needed to hear.
    Bro. John

  7. I am not a pastor. I work the overnight shift at a Christian Homeless Shelter. I am one staff member for about 100 men and managing my emotions and learning patience and having peace in my life is a daily battle. I have to pray before I go to work and ask the holy spirit to guide me. After doing this for 4 years now I realize I am nothing without the grace of God.

  8. Glory be to the Father! THis is exactly what this man needed to hear. Thank you so much for the efforts in writing this and posting it for us to learn.

    Rev. Wayne
    God is SO GOOD!

  9. I love this, "happy face in faith"…Nice article

  10. First I'm going to take a deep breath. Breathing and thinking and vice versa. I always forget those two important steps.

  11. I have been so blessed by this ministry. I was cruising the information superhighway looking for an online college (seminary) where I could begin my Masters Degree in Theology. Upon much searching (months) the Lord God lead me to The National Association of Christians Ministers. All I can say is WOW!!! There's so much wealth of information and fellowship that no Masters degree can come near it. Thank you all for the fellowship.

    In Christ,

    Bro. Pablo Diaz

  12. Thank you, you are an awesome teacher, and I know that you are God sent

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