News Articles

Bob Anderson encourages ministers not to quit

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–“The greatest people you’ll find have four words on their foreheads: ‘I will not quit,'” Bob Anderson told students in a Nov. 5 chapel service at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Anderson was elected president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention Nov. 11.
The founder and president of Antioch Affection Ministries, an organization designed to care for ministers and churches in crisis, Anderson has seen both individuals and churches devastated after a ministry has fallen apart.
“Unless these ministers get the restoration and personal ministry they need, they will not finish well,” he said.
Anderson gave five principles to help ministers “hang in there” through life’s struggles and the stress of ministry, encouraging students to refuse to give up and to be intent on finishing well.
He said he first learned the importance of finishing well when his high school track team lost the state championship in the final 20 yards of an 880 relay race.
“I learned a lesson that has stayed with me all my life: It’s one thing to start well, but it’s oh so important to finish well.
“There are many pitfalls, downfalls and barriers that wait for us, and we must follow principles we learn from God in order to finish well.”
Citing Exodus 3, Anderson said God demonstrated for Moses five principles to help him complete the task set before him:
— God is always present. Even while Moses was in the wilderness, God knew where he was and God spoke to him, Anderson said. “The greatest secret I ever learned is that God is present with me in the good times and the bad times, and our Lord is always present with you.”
— God provides power. “God wants to give us power,” Anderson said. Just as the miracle of the unconsumed burning bush attracted Moses’ attention, showed him God’s power and compelled him to act on behalf of his people, “we have the power to change our world.” God wants to pour his power through the church, now the spiritual body of Christ on earth, Anderson said.
— God is a God of possibility. “It is possible for people to have a new beginning, a second chance,” Anderson said, for through God’s strength and plan Moses recovered from failure to lead the people of Israel out of bondage.
A positive attitude is a vital characteristic for the minister wanting to see possibilities become realities, Anderson said.
“Our churches will be filled to capacity when they’re filled with happy people, and it starts with the pastor. A joyful church starts with the minister being happy,” he said.
“It is possible for ministers to enjoy the ministry.”
— God encourages persistence. Just as the burning bush would not be consumed, God was saying, “Moses don’t quit,” Anderson said.
Ministers sometimes will still have the feeling to leave the ministry, “but they need to stick with it to the end.”
— God wants ministers to take personal responsibility. Moses had a ministry God wanted him to do, and “God is calling all of us to serve him and to serve him with all of our hearts,” Anderson said.
“The greatest words in the Bible are in John 14:13, ‘Whatever you ask in my name, that will I do.’ That verse has helped me hang in there and not quit,” he said.
For the past 22 years, Anderson has been helping ministers find healing and hope after devastating vocational and personal failures. He became pastor of Parkview Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La., in 1974, and started caring for ministers in distress soon after.
“I began the ministry when I was a pastor by bringing (onto the staff) ministers who had been terminated … , helping them dump their baggage and get back into the ministry,” he said.
Anderson has been leading Antioch Affections Ministries full time since 1996, when he was overwhelmed by the increasing number of requests for help. He now devotes his full attention to responding to ministers who have experienced forced terminations, divorce and other crises.
Named for the church at Antioch that restored John Mark to the ministry and that was the base for the mission trips of Paul and Barnabas after their separation, Antioch Affection Ministries has helped more than 250 ministers from every kind of church staff position get back into the ministry.
Aspects of the ministry include:
— encouragement to ministers suffering from stress, criticism and self-doubt.
— Christian counselors for ministers who experience burn-out, panic attacks or depression.
— homes and apartments at low rent or no cost for brief retreats or a temporary home after termination.
— severance package intervention.
— sponsoring churches, called refuge churches, where ministers can serve while recovering.
— a discipleship program designed to guide ministers to recovery.
— referrals to churches when a minister is ready to return to service.
— Purposeful Interims, a program of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Institute for Church Health, through which a certified interim pastor can be recommended to a church that is either recovering from conflict or wanting to approach an interim period with purpose.

    About the Author

  • Linda Joyce Zygiel & Debbie Moore