As a new ministry, it is essential that it be explained why Peptalk Ministries exists. How did it start? Why did it start? What problem is it trying to solve?
The Challenge: Spiritual Discernment
Spiritual discernment is the act of encountering God in a profound manner that clarifies what God desires you to be or do in any given situation. When the Holy Spirit reveals answers or direction to an individual or group of persons' questions, the resulting actions are driven by a clear sense of purpose.
In all of my years serving as a pastor and peer with other clergy, the one statement I heard more than anything else was this: "I don't know what God wants for me or my life." Everyday Christians continue to struggle in the quest to learn their purpose. They want to know how to fit in. They want to know their role or their calling. Trying to discover this alone is a journey frequently met with frustration.
Pastors are also struggling, especially in the post-Covid era. Many felt lost when everything including their churches shut down because of the global pandemic. Some felt a desperate sense of confusion. Others experienced a real sense of low self-esteem because nothing could have prepared them for this ministry crisis. Many gave up. Many are still giving up. Depending on where you turn for statistics, roughly half of all pastors are still considering quitting the ministry in the next couple of years.
Other pastors are struggling with their vocational call differently. They are sensing a stirring in their heart that suggests to them that it is time to relocate or transfer to a new place of ministry. They are hoping a fresh start can rekindle their souls.
Many churches as well are facing dwindling resources of membership, financial means, and a lack of energy that is usually manifest in few volunteers. In situations such as these, what numbers of volunteers exist show signs of quick burnout because they are tasked with more than they can handle.
Additionally, we are only at the beginning of a wave of church closures. These next 2-5 years will see a crest of congregations closing their doors for any number of reasons, but primarily will be due to decline. These churches have lost their sense of calling, vision, and even identity. Discerning God's path forward is a daunting task for churches and is also a contributor for pastoral departures because they do not know how to help their people discover God's desire for whatever decisions lay ahead.
Why Does This Matter?
Perhaps you are familiar with the biblical phrase, "Where there is no vision, God's people have no hope" (my paraphrase). A lack of spiritual discernment can decimate the movement of God in a world that desperately needs to know what the love of God looks like. Without our witness, how will God be known? Of course I believe that God will always find a way, but that way is already in our hands and we are instructed to share the Good News with the world.
Individual believers need to know their purpose. It is critical for Christians to have a strong understanding of the meaning of their life beyond salvation. They need to sense God's hand in their lives for direction, meaning, and calling. Ask anyone who is faithfully and actively serving the Lord and you will find a person who is confident and satisfied that what they are doing serves kingdom purposes.
Pastors need to experience the assurance of God's presence in their lives of service. They need to have a firm grip on their vocational call from above. Then need assurance that the One who set them aside for ministry is still desirous for them to make their stand for Christ in whatever arena God has placed them to serve. They need a renewed sense of vision, new energy to serve God's people and the ministry of the Gospel. They need this clarity in their hearts so they can help the people they serve recognize what an inspired leader looks like, who will in turn inspire them to service.
Churches need to discern their own paths forward. They need to find God's specific vision for them. They also need to discover how to take forward steps into their future with dignity, grace, and peace, or, a sense of renewed hope. As a pastor who has helped a congregation walk the trail of the end of its season, I can assure you that without a clear sense of God's guidance through the process, it would have been disastrous and far more painful than it was.
How Can Peptalk Ministries Help?
This ministry was placed on my heart several years ago. A mentor and friend of mine helped me discern God's vision of working with "multiples," to work with churches and pastors, both in plurals. The call to the pastorate for 22+ years was clear and the call from above to begin this ministry to help beyond one local congregation was crystal clear as well.
The experiences God presented to me combined with my passion for God's people and God's churches are the foundation for this ministry. The experience I mentioned above with the last church I served was God's lesson for me to share with churches facing the most difficult questions. Are they heading for a time to prepare for their legacy or it is a time for renewal? I have written about my experience of walking with a church through their closure process (Healthy Endings: A Leader's Journey Through a Church Legacy Transition-available soon). What is fascinating to me is how the formula I use helped one church end its season in a powerful kingdom story while it is helping another church through a renewal process. These congregations know what it means to seek God's leadership and follow God's guidance. The results are always God's, and the lives that are effected by those results always leads to God being glorified!
From the first day I walked into a pulpit as pastor, I have had a strong passion for my peers. I have been parts of groups and have created my own. I always enjoyed serving beyond the capacity of the local church in associational or denominational work. Teaming up with others in vocational service was the joy of my soul as we shared our hearts with one another. We exposed our issues, encouraged and inspired one another, and had an outlet to help us be our authentic selves. What I found was a way to be a real help for these special leaders through friendship, mentoring, and coaching.
As I mentioned at the beginning, God's people often ask questions about their own individual purpose. Finding God's plan for their lives is often a personal journey where many do not experience the help of someone to come alongside them and help them find enlightenment from the Spirit. God has blessed me to do exactly this for many years. My personal motto has always been, "Helping people discover and become all they can be in Christ." When I say people, I do not limit my work to be exclusively with leaders or pastors. God's call for me is to serve all, or as I've learned to say in southern living, All Y'all!
Why We Should Connect
It hurts my heart to know that many do not turn anywhere but within for help. Yes, God is glad to meet you there and guide you in the right direction. But most need assistance with this process. What I do and offer is designed to help individuals, leaders, pastors, and churches on the path to discover God's way forward for them. How does God do this through me?
I am a coach; trained, certified, and still growing. My specialty is in spirituality and leadership, ideally equipping me to help God's people to discern God's will. This has proven effective with more pastors than I know how to count, denominational leaders, and everyday folk who just want to find their way. My doctoral work was spirituality coaching for pastors anticipating vocational transitions. My coaching is highly effective in assisting people in their spiritual discernment.
The experiences described above as well as my education have been invaluable teachings that equip me to lead. I utilize a coach approach as I work with groups and congregations since their journey is uniquely theirs. God's call for every church is to be faithful in their context. Facing tough decisions for the future is heart-wrenching and difficult. I come in with a pastor's heart, eager to serve and help find God's guidance while having the necessary compassion to not come in like the proverbial bull in a china shop. I refuse to ever give up on the local church as one of God's ways of reaching the world today. I will lead you from the heart.
I have led the Virginia Baptist's "Gathering of Silence" retreat
for several years. This is a retreat designed to give pastors an opportunity to disengage from their ministry lives and reconnect with God in powerful ways. I craft each retreat to offer key insights into the heart of God and provide the pastors coaching sessions while they attend if they desire. I have also led retreats for church staffs, individual retreats, and other groups such as church small groups. Each is individually created to meet the needs of those involved. I will soon branch out further to offer more spirituality retreats designed for larger groups who are seeking help in discernment on a broader scale. My second book (still in editing as we speak) is all about spiritual discernment and how to experience it.
All what I have written here is designed to help you understand what Peptalk Ministries is all about. This is God's clear call on my life to serve in kingdom work for the rest of my days. I hope you will find encouragement here and be inspired to reach out to me for any spiritual needs you may have. Please visit my website to learn more, www.peptalkministries.com. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you and discovering the possibilities of partnering with you on your path toward discernment.