Christians: Too often victims of DIScouragement

by Jim on July 6, 2012


Ministry Encouragement Podcast – Episode 001a

July 6, 2012   – Rev. Jim W. Hollis

Welcome to the first Episode of the Ministry Encouragement Podcast.  It’s been a while in the praying, planning and putting this together to bring us to the launch of this new shared ministry experience.  It is my prayer that each of you who listen to this Podcast will find your heart and soul encouraged in Christ.

Having been in ministry full time for 37 years, I understand what discouragement is about and how it can range from momentarily frustrating to deep depression with a passion to throw in the towel.  I’ve been blessed and privileged to have not only served a number of churches for 18 years as pastor but to work for the past 19 years with clergy and leaders from more than 900 congregations across 40 states in the USA and North America.  There is a tremendous need for spiritual encouragement and a new outpouring of God’s Courage on those who are serving Christ.

When I talk about “ministry” I am defining that as not only Clergy.  For God has millions of Christ-followers in life-transforming ministries around the world today who are NOT clergy and never will be have that particular call on their lives.  I believe that laity (the people of God) are intended to be the “ministry strength” of every local church and faith community – working closely with the Clergy, but not simply “helping or assisting the clergy” as laity have God’s call on their lives individually and as part of the larger Christian community of faith.

I am somewhat of a rarity today – I’m a native Atlanta born Georgian.  I grew up in rural East Georgia in a wonderful, Norman Rockwell sort of place called, Morgan County.  The three largest towns in Morgan County were and are: Madison, Rutledge, and Bostwick.  There are others which I won’t mention for time’s sake, and there is Hard Labor Creek State Park, which I think is still the largest State Park in all of Georgia.

While I lived in Rutledge, I went to school in Madison at Morgan County High School, still a fine rural high school in east Georgia today.  Madison is the town that Sherman decided to not burn down.  Antebellum homes are as numerous there as pecans in a pecan orchard and are beautiful.  People still travel from hundreds of miles around to come and see the homes and antique shops in beautiful Madison, GA.

Rutledge was a bit smaller and simpler, with a 10 by 15 feet Police Department headquarters building in town next to the railroad tracks.  There were three policemen there – one for each shift and one was the Chief.   There were old timey stores there with older-than-dirt tin roofs hanging over the downtown sidewalks for many years.  We had both a Baptist and Methodist church right in the downtown section.  Many of the old men from both churches sat and spit tobacco on the Liar’s Bench, just in front of the hardware store went to church on Sunday.  There was (and still is) a little downtown park where we played on the playground and graduated to touch football in teen years.  We would play until we were worn out and walk across the street to the downtown Soda Fountain where Mr. Flop Davis would serve us 10 cent Cokes.  We could even get hamburgers and fries.

My Dad was the Mayor of Rutledge, GA, where he served for 40 years of his life.  The city placed a nice memorial stone in his memory which to this day is just west of City Hall, the old train depot building in the heart of town.  Both Mom and Dad outran us in the race to Glory in 1979.

In the remainder of this Episode, I share more of my journey growing up and some of the early, vivid experiences of “church” and “youth group” in early years.  I went to visit a very large church in Atlanta and what he saw there in their youth ministry a totally different approach which had a great impact on my own experience – teaching me that our vision is often limited by our environment.

As I grew into high school years, there were hard choices to be made as many friends I knew chose paths that went in different directions.  There was a movement of sorts in high school which carried clear expectations that everyone would drink alcohol and experiment with other substances.  Rejecting this with a sometimes overly zealous and critical attitude, I experienced the isolation and sting of going another way, which led me to answer a calling into full time ministry.

As you listen to this first Episode, you will come to understand how God has shaped my spiritual journey, protected me from some of my own extreme positions early in life and used all these things to prepare me for the past 37 years of ministry.  And now I look forward to having us build community together around this Podcast.   I would love hear from each of you.  Please email me with your thoughts, questions and suggestions as to how we can make this Ministry Encouragement Podcast all it can be to bless lives and encourage Christ followers.

You may email me at:  OR reach me on Facebook as, “Jim W. Hollis”  My Twitter ID is: @riskforchristjh and I am also on LinkedIn.  On my blog page for this Podcast, there is a Voicemail button on the right side of the page which you may click on with your cursor and use your microphone to leave me a voicemail which will be sent to me automatically.

Many thanks go out to Dave Jackson, at The School of Podcasting for his help in giving me guidance in getting started in this method of communicating the good news and making new friends.  Also, I have learned many great lessons from Cliff Ravenscraft, as The Podcast Answer Man.  Both of these friends are excellent and tremendously knowledgeable on Podcasting and living a joyful life.

Dave Jackson,

Cliff Ravenscraft,

Thanks for allowing me to share in your life through this Podcast.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin Snyder March 4, 2017 at 11:47 pm

Wow! I do indeed feel uplifted. This podcast may be 4-1/2 years old, but it rings true in so many ways.
It may seem ‘hokey’ but I enjoy stories about modest ‘country-style’ upbringing.

Thanks for sharing, I hope you feel uplifted and encouraged by this post.


Jim March 12, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Thanks Kevin. Look forward to working with you in our ministries as we go forward.


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