The Work Goes On
Hands Held High
By Jim McComas
In Exodus 17, we find an inspiring story that preaches a strong message to believers on the power of personal encouragement. The Amalekites had attacked the Israelites in the Valley of Rephidim. Moses commanded Joshua to organize an army to engage the enemy down in the valley, while Moses himself would stand on top of the hill with the rod of God in his hands.
As long as Moses kept his hands lifted to Heaven, the Israelites were victorious. When he lowered his hands, however, the Amalekites prevailed. As the day grew longer, Moses grew so weary he could no longer hold his arms up. When that happened, Aaron and Hur found a stone for Moses to sit on. Then they stood, one on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. With the help of Aaron and Hur, Moses’ hands remained lifted until sunset, and Joshua and the Israelites won a great victory.
The simple moral to the story is just as true in the Body of Christ today as it was that day in Rephidim—God’s people do better together than they do on their own.
North American Ministries Executive Director David Crowe has a powerful message on this subject entitled “Hands Held High: a Ministry of Encouragement.” In this inspiring sermon, he shares of a time in his ministry years ago when God showed both him and the church he pastored how to be better encouragers to God’s people.
In 2016, North American Ministries adopted that slogan, “Hands Held High: a Ministry of Encouragement,” as the yearly theme for the department. In keeping with that theme, we also began a “Hand Held High” fund, with money specifically set aside to encourage pastors and their families in tangible ways. After we began raising the money, we began praying God would show us how to effectively be a blessing to weary and discouraged ministers.
One day, I was on the phone with a discouraged pastor, talking about serious issues taking place in the church where he was ministering. His family had experienced some hateful and personal attacks, his wife was facing serious physical issues, and to make matters worse, his children were becoming bitter toward God and the church as a result of all they had witnessed.
As the pastor poured his heart out to me in frustration, he said, “And on top of all this, our house payment is due today, and we have no idea how we are going to pay it.”
That pastor wasn’t asking for help, but I knew this was exactly the type of situation for which our “Hands Held High” funds were being raised. Our department was blessed to be able to provide the money to pay that family’s house payment, plus give them some extra money to ease their stress.
Later, in a thank you card to our department, the pastor seemed most grateful for how his children saw their financial need met that day through God’s people. Their faith was restored, because someone they didn’t know was willing to step up and lift their father’s heavy hands.
That gift was only the beginning of the wonderful things we have been able to do through the “Hands Held High” fund. Since then, we have helped numerous pastors and their families:
We helped the families of pastors who have passed away with funeral expenses.
We helped pay the expenses of several discouraged pastors and their families to attend the Power Conferences in both Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. One pastor said, “This conference might as well as had my name on it. Every sermon and every seminar was such a huge help and blessing to my life.”
We helped several pastors whose family members were ill with medical and travel expenses.
These are just a few examples among the many I could list. As director of church revitalization, it is my job to help struggling churches. I believe that starts with helping our pastors and their families. Discouragement and depression is at an all-time high in the ministry. Anybody can tear things down. It takes love and compassion to lift someone up.
North American Ministries has determined we are going to do everything we can to be Aaron and Hur to the real heroes of our denomination, those on the front lines of the battle—our pastors, their wives, and their children.
About the Writer: Jim McComas is director of church revitalization for North American Ministries.
To learn more about the “Hands Held High” ministry, visit www.fwbnam.com.