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How To Demolish Discouragement As An Urban Pastor

I was watching the news the other night.

I was only half listening because there’s nothing worth hearing on the news anyway.

But then, there was a breaking news report. There has been a deadly shootout in Jacksonville. Three young men had been shot, and one was pronounced dead. 

Sadly, this happens all the time. What caught my attention was the bystanders who were interviewed by the news. One man said, “Nobody is safe! Somebody needs to do something about this!” 

When I heard those words, I became silently frustrated because that’s why I moved here. I am planting this church to reach the young men who are dying in our streets every day, and it feels like no matter what I do, it’s not working, and things are getting worse. 

Have you ever felt like giving up as an urban church planter or pastor? I know I have! 


In the streets of cities across America in diverse neighborhoods of urban settings, the call to plant churches or shepherd congregations brings on a unique set of challenges and opportunities. In other words, there are some real pros and cons. 

Urban pastors are at the forefront of ministry, navigating a fast-swirling blend of social, cultural, and spiritual complexities. Yet, in the middle of the hustle and grind of city life, genuine souls are hungry for the transformative power of the Gospel. Writing this, I draw inspiration from the timeless wisdom of Scripture; as I state regularly,

“Scripture is King.” 

Let’s examine four mandatory skills to master if you want to sustain your courage while laboring in the urban context.


Urban communities have a unique flow—they buzz with energy, diversity, and complexity. This type of energy can make it easy for church planters and pastors to become swamped with the tasks and responsibilities that come with ministry—not only ministry but also the duties of being husbands and fathers and so much more. 

Despite the busyness, we must revive our concern for those we are called to serve. Just as Paul rejoiced in the book of Philippians’ renewed concern for him (Philippians 4:10), let us cultivate a spirit of genuine care and compassion for the souls within our communities.

As urban pastors this concern takes on various forms. It involves reaching out to overlooked people in our communities, engaging with the fugitive nature of hood life, or navigating through cultural barriers like languages and cultural practices to build authentic relationships. This is the definition of loving your neighbor as Jesus commands us to. 

Whatever the context, never lose sight of the individuals behind the statistics and the stories behind the faces. Reviving your concern to serve requires intentionality, empathy, and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone to meet people where they are.


Let’s be real: Urban ministry comes with its fair share of challenges—from limited resources and financial constraints to the relentless pace of city life. In these trials, it’s easy to fall prey to discontent or disillusionment. Yet, like Paul, we are called to learn the secret of contentment (Philippians 4:11). Contentment in urban ministry doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to the needs around us or settling for mediocrity. Instead, it’s a recognition that our sufficiency comes from God alone.

As church planters and pastors, learning to be content involves trusting in God’s provision and sovereignty, even when your bank account is dying a slow, painful death. It’s about finding joy and fulfillment in serving God’s kingdom, regardless of the outward circumstances. 

We have to remember: We Get  To Do This! 

Whether we are in seasons of abundance or seasons of scarcity, we must anchor our contentment in the unchanging and never-fading love and faithfulness of our Heavenly Father.


Urban contexts are characterized by constant instability. Church planters and pastors must navigate many circumstances, from celebrating victories and milestones to walking alongside individuals in their deepest valleys. Paul learned to face every circumstance with unwavering faith (Philippians 4:12). We must cultivate resilience and steadfastness in urban ministry.

This “secret” lies in our complete dependence on Christ.

Regardless of the challenges that come our way – cultural opposition, financial struggles, or the new curse word in ministry, “burnout” – we can find strength and perseverance in Christ alone. 

It’s not about relying on our wisdom or strength but surrendering to the One who holds all things together. By leaning into His grace and drawing from His wellspring of strength, we can navigate through every trial and tribulation that urban ministry may bring.


Ultimately, the success of urban ministry depends on your submission to Jesus Christ. In Philippians 4:13, Paul declares, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” 

As church planters and pastors, our empowerment and effectiveness do not come from our personal abilities. Nobody cares how well you can preach or how many people showed up at your last event. At the end of the day, our power and influence come from our intimate connection with Christ. He gives us the grace to submit daily.

In the fast-paced landscape of urban ministry, remember to submit yourself wholeheartedly to the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit. Surrender your plans, your ambitions, and your fears to Jesus, trusting in His unfailing grace to sustain us through every season. By abiding in Him, you will bear fruit that will endure for eternity, transforming lives and communities with the power of the Gospel.


So, to all the urban church planters and pastors laboring tirelessly in the streets for the streets, take heart. Don’t let the news or the latest stats about your city discourage your efforts. You are not alone in your journey. Draw strength from the timeless wisdom of Scripture, and let it be a pillar of hope and encouragement as you continue to sow seeds of love, grace, and truth in the urban context. 

May God’s presence be your constant companion, and may His kingdom reign supreme in every corner of your city.

Remember, Scripture is King and Christ Reigns Supreme!

Author: Cedric Lauchner

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