Cheerful Giver



January Newsletter


Information and news from other PNC churches.




Rev. Stephen Snodgrass

Sept-October- 2011

The Ministry- A Life Spent For Others

Recently as I was preparing to speak to a group of young men who have felt the call of God to serve Him as a minister, I was struck once again with the awesomeness of the moment that I answered God’s call on my own life. Born and raised in a layman’s home, I would have been content to follow the path of my father and serve faithfully from the pew. But God had other plans for me. As ministers we all have “our story.” The service we were in, the scripture that we read, the reservations we felt, but also the anxious duty that overwhelmed any hesitation on our part as we “answered” the call to be a minister of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.

October is a month that is set aside for Ministry Appreciation. As a fellow-minister, I wish to express my admiration and gratitude to my fellow laborers. Being firmly aware of the rigors of ministry upon you, your spouse and your children, I pray God will continually keep you under the shadow of His wing. The days are long, the needs are many and the appreciation seems so small, but a record is being kept and the rewards are coming. Minister of the Gospel…I appreciate you!!

In his book, The Adventure of the Christian Ministry, Milo Arnold wrote, “The value of an oil field is not in how much oil is stored under the ground but in how much is recoverable. Even so the value of a minister is not in how much potential he has, but in how much of him can be expressed in impact upon the lives of others.  A minister’s measure of usefulness is fixed by what he can give, not by what he possesses. The most brilliant sermons are not always the most helpful. The best trained counselors are not always the most effective in consultation. The ablest administrator is not invariably the best pastor.

A minister is measured not only by what he has to give but also by how able he is in giving it. Jesus admonished His disciples that the path to greatness was through service and the secret of getting the real adventure out of living was in giving themselves away effectively. The man who fails to follow this admonition is destined to disappointment in his office as a Christian minister. Self-giving is the essence of ministering.”

Ministers, if we are not careful, we will fall into the prevalent, modern mindset that a minister is a professional. Let me be clear, I believe that many ministers could benefit from more organization and structure in their lives and churches. I further believe that if we were to operate a business as many manage their churches, we would go bankrupt in no time at all. Structure is needed. Organization is lacking. Professional pride in our labor is non-existent in many cases. But brethren, we must never forget the day that we were selected by God to be a minister of the Gospel. If we never drew a pay check, if we never were denominationally ordained, if we were never told that we did a good job, on the day that we were “called” we were going to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ no matter what.

But much has changed. Now there are some will not even consider a church that is smaller than what we have pastored in the past. We will not even consider moving to a parish if it is not monetarily beneficial. Somewhere in the recent past we have acquired this mindset that it is about what I can get out of it and not what I put into it that counts in the long run. Brethren, ministering is about self-giving.

Being fully aware of the dangers of “burn-out” I admonish each minister to guard his call and keep it alive and fresh, by recognizing when he should draw away from the crowd as Jesus did on numerous recorded occasions. Know that you need your rest, budget your strength and measure your time and abilities in a way that will complement your ministry. But never forget that you are called to give and be spent for others.

Arnold goes on to say, “Jesus Christ counted not His own life dear. He counted His debt to others ahead of His obligation to himself. He asked nothing of this earth and its men save a cross on which He might die, and a borrowed tomb in which He might dress for Easter morning.

No minister can know the abounding romance of living until his life is shared as Jesus shared. Ho man can fully know the significance of finding life until he knows the adventure of losing it for the sake of those about him. Not only his effectiveness but his fulfillment is determined by the amount of himself which he shares. We become what we share as truly as we give what we share. The measure of the minister is not in training and skills alone but in the amount of these skills and graces which become available to others by reason of a close rapport and a vital proximity with people and with God.”

Minister of the Gospel, you are a special person, selected by God to carry His message to a needy people. Today, I thank you for your service. I thank you for your commitment. I thank you for giving of yourself day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year. Keep giving and one day you will hear from the lips of the One who called you, “well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of the Lord.”          

Past Articles

July- Aug. 2011
May - June 2011
Mar-Apr. 2011
Easter Special 2011
Jan.- Feb. 2011
Special Article-Feb 2011
Nov.- Dec. 2010
Sept/October 2010
July/August 2010
May/June 2010
Mar/April 2010
Feburary 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009