Interview With Trevor Hudson (Part 2)

The following is part 2 of a recent interview that I did with Trevor Hudson. (You can find part 1 here.) Trevor lives in South Africa. He a minister HudsonBook.jpg and the author of a number of books. Most recently, he has written a wonderful book entitled Discovering Our Spiritual Identity. I think so much of the book that I am about to teach through it at our church on Wednesday evenings.

I encourage you to savor his words below. Very important.

(If you would like to be eligible to win a copy of Discovering Our Spiritual Identity, leave a comment below or tweet regarding this post.)


Many pastors/Christian ministers have left their congregations at a low point in their lives. Marriage problems. Use of pornography. Power plays within the congregation. Some are exhausted and burned out. What can pastors and other church leaders do to practice better self-care before such a crisis becomes a part of their lives?

Seek to keep our love for God alive in our hearts! I really believe this is the deep secret of caring for our own souls. It is so easy for us as pastors to become religious professionals and forget our amateur status as followers of Christ. We keep the love of God alive in our hearts by consciously opening our hearts and minds to Jesus Christ on a daily basis. We need to find, with the help of good friends along the Way, practical ways in which we can do this. The other helpful thing for me personally is keeping myself open to the joy of God in the midst of my daily work as a pastor. For me this means enjoying special moments with Debbie (the person to whom I am married), chilling with my adult children Joni and Mark, hanging out with friends, going running, watching my soccer team and just loving life as it comes. Pastors need to be the most joyful people around, even in the midst of our very painful contexts. This is a daily challenge for me because I am someone who can easily get overwhelmed by the pain we encounter as pastors each day.


Ok, Trevor, you just touched on something very important. What do you do when you are overwhelmed by the pain of others? What do you do when you are overwhelmed by a sense of your own failure before God? (You may wonder if there is any use in continuing on with Jesus!) What have you found helpful?

Being overwhelmed is an experience that many of us can identify with. We can be overwhelmed by personal grief, the information that comes at us from all sides, the demands of our work, personal relational pain, the immensity of the needs around us and the list just goes on and on. I have found it helpful first to name my overwhelming. Naming things is a powerful act. Then I find it helpful to share my sense of overwhelming with God and at least one other human being who I can really trust. This means I am no longer isolated by my overwhelming but connected in community. Lastly I have learnt that hidden in my overwhelming experience there is often an invitation to attend to the shape of my living. Often when I am overwhelmed my life is knocked out of shape. So I need to give attention, usually with the help of someone wiser, to how I can intentionally live a more gospel-shaped life. Perhaps I can quickly add that not all “overwhelmings” are bad. We also need to open ourselves to those joyful “overwhelmings” of beauty and music and goodness that lie all around us–and above all, to the experience of being overwhelmed by the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s love for each one of us in Christ.


Some ministers really struggle with developing some kind of daily/weekly routine in their ministry. How can a person who works with a congregation address this issue in his/her life?

I need to be clear about what tasks lie at the heart of faithful pastoral ministry and intentionally build my days around these things. I find it very helpful to do this with my leaders so that they can encourage and support me in my intentions. In my 35th year of pastoral ministry, I am also more aware than ever of my need for “hidden preparation” for public ministry. Sometimes leaders in the congregation are not aware of this and so this need must be carefully explained. In order to do what I need to do “on the spot” as a pastor, I need “off the spot” moments to freshly prepare myself for whatever it is I must do.


Many ministers feel totally overun by the needs of the congregation and quite often, the expectations of the congregation. What can ministers do to better pace themselves in their ministries?

I don’t think I am a good person to ask when it comes to this question! Overcommitment has been my number one sin as a pastor. Consciously I desire a more leisurely way of being a pastor yet I keep sabotaging this intention by taking on too much. Reflecting on this contradiction with some good friends, and asking God to shine some light on the hidden motivations of my heart, is proving to be very helpful at the moment. Maybe this is where we need to begin if we want to pace ourselves better—with the kind of confession before God and others that leads us to attend in new ways to the shape of our living. This is what I am learning at the moment. Hopefully I will better be able to answer this question in a few years time!


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  • http://ypguybrit.wordpress.com Brit Windel

    This is great stuff. I really need to check the book out and possibly get copies for our staff. Great stuff that is practical and not super heady!

    • http://this-mortal-coil.com Charlie Coil

      Hey Brit,
      Weren’t you in one of my classes at John Brown University?? How many amazing Brit Windels can there be in this world? Glad to see you’re keeping up with Jim’s wonderful blog. Blessings in your ministry work. -Charlie Coil

  • http://jasonreeves.wordpress.com jason reeves

    I’m in!

    Glory to God!

    Jason

  • DEBORAH

    looks like a valuable book, appreciate your endorsement.

  • Charlie Coil

    As one of those ministers who has been caught up in “congregational power play” issues, this post hits close to home. Mr. Hudson has some wonderful insights. In fact, I think his advice pretty much applies to experiencing any adversity in your life. We’ve all heard the comment from some wise sage, “the older I get and the more I learn it seems the less I know.” As a 58-year old man in the midst of a “big do-over” working on a PhD in Philosophy, I can identify. But, just as clear as the conclusion that I don’t know much is the conclusion that God is sooo good! It seems that everywhere I turn there is God’s grace. There are two books out this year entitled “All Is Grace”. One is a biography of Dorothy Day, the other a memoir from Brendan Manning (Ragamuffin Gospel). Google this phrase and you’ll see how many people have this same sense of what they see when they look around at their world. I would only add to these responses yet another book recommendation for other ol’ folks like me–a book by one of my fav writers. Em Griffin, Soul’s in Full Sail: A Christian Spirituality for the Later Years http://www.amazon.com/Souls-Full-Sail-Christian-Spirituality/dp/0830835482/ref=pd_sim_b_4

    • Jim Martin

      Charlie, thanks in particular for these book suggestions. Very helpful. (I was aware of only one of these.)

      You are right. Trevor Hudson has keen insights regarding ministry and life. I’m grateful for his writings.