Let me spell out an all-too-common scenario. A bright young Christian arrives on the scene as a volunteer worker for a small struggling, yet anointed ministry organization. He (or she) gives a few months or a few years of his young life as a “full time worker” and selflessly dedicates his precious time. He sees the ministry make some headway due to his unique set of skills. The founder of the ministry is pleased and gives the young worker a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars to help complete a project. Due to the messy organizational skills of the leader and the lack of a well-defined plan, the project either falls by the wayside or stalls once it is more than half finished. The level of frustration rises on both sides. The young worker realizes that his own financial situation has grown dire due to a growing amount of time spent sacrificially without an adequate salary. He feels he has wasted his precious time and will never see the fruit of his labor. He leaves the ministry he previously admired with a bad taste in his mouth and then slanders the ministry founder to numerous friends and acquaintances.
I’ve seen this scenario — or something similar to it — play out a few dozen times in my Christian experience. It is not a syndrome peculiar to a certain type ministry or church denomination. The “martyr syndrome” seems to be everywhere. I would define this as ministry burnout when unrealistic expectations are not met and a “victim” mentality ensues. Here’s a good set of articles from the Emmanuel Research Review that describe this syndrome as being pervasive and makes some good suggestions for reform: Is it just me that is dysfunctional or is it my church?
Where does this happen most? Youth ministries that recruit full-time Christian workers that are required to raise their own support are more prone to this than others. The conundrum comes when a worker is responsible for his or her own support, but is nevertheless placed in a situation that demands a high level of commitment. Young Christians have the greatest amount of zeal, but they are also the most naïve. They are therefore prone to spiritual abuse and often place unrealistic expectations on themselves. When things don’t work out exactly as imagined, this is either an opportunity to learn and mature or it can be a pitfall for bitterness as well.
As a high school teacher in a lower income area, I deal young people who come from dysfunctional families all day long. It is not surprising that given the high level of dysfunctionality in our culture that we find this syndrome among young adults who are placed in ministry situations.
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“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
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Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion
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Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
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Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
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“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
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