Overcoming Shame & Experiencing True Joy : Ken Shigematsu

Overcoming Shame & Experiencing True Joy - Ken Shigematsu - 114 - FrontStage BackStage with Jason Daye

How can we overcome our fears of not being enough, of falling short, of losing face? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Ken Shigematsu. Ken is the senior pastor of Tenth Church in Vancouver, one of the largest and most diverse city-center churches in all of Canada. Ken is an international best-selling author, and his latest book is entitled Now I Become Myself. Together, Ken and Jason explore how God’s grace can bring healing to our feelings of inadequacy, shame, and envy. Ken also shares how we can take down the masks that we often wear in ministry and find our true selves in Christ.

Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!

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Additional Resource Links

www.tenth.ca – Explore Ken’s website to discover more information about his ministry, including detailed insights into his latest book, a calendar of upcoming events, and a collection of powerful sermons. Additionally, you’ll find a variety of helpful resources designed to support and enrich your faith journey.

Now I Become Myself: How Deep Grace Heals Our Shame and Restores Our True Self – Drawing on a rich variety of personal experience, Scripture, spiritual formation classics, psychology, and relational neuroscience; award-winning author and pastor Ken Shigematsu shows how a deep, experiential encounter with the love of God can heal us of our shame, make us whole again, and inspire us to fulfill our purpose by making a faithful contribution to the world.

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Key Insights and Concepts

  • Fear of not being enough can manifest in different ways, revealing deeper anxieties about inadequacy in our roles and responsibilities.
  • Shame, whether about our performance, finances, or appearance, can either shrink us or drive us to overcompensate, both of which are unhealthy.
  • Temporary, redemptive shame can lead to positive change, while prolonged, identity-based shame is toxic and detrimental.
  • The Bible and social science both identify shame as a pervasive force that can negatively shape our self-perception and actions.
  • Embracing our identity as God’s beloved can counteract the paralyzing effects of shame, fostering a sense of worth and acceptance.
  • Affirmations of God’s love, repeated daily, can help rewire our brains to focus on grace and acceptance rather than shame.
  • Practicing silence and meditative affirmations can deepen our awareness of God’s unconditional love and counteract feelings of inadequacy.
  • Envy, easily exacerbated by social media, can be mitigated by praying for and serving those we view as rivals, fostering a sense of unity and compassion.
  • Recognizing that everyone faces hidden struggles can reduce envy and promote empathy, reminding us that no one is to be envied.
  • Naming and addressing shame publicly can humanize our experiences and create opportunities for communal healing and support.
  • Living from a place of grace rather than performance allows us to connect authentically with others and experience true belonging.
  • Spiritual practices like silence, gratitude exercises, and Sabbath can enhance our awareness of God’s love and reduce the impact of shame.
  • One must be aware of the danger of living from a false self, driven by the need for approval, rather than one’s true, God-created identity.
  • Experiences of God’s love, whether through spiritual practices or unexpected moments, can profoundly impact our faith and resilience.
  • Embracing our unique calling and vision, rather than imitating others, leads to true greatness and fulfillment in our ministry and personal lives.

Questions for Reflection

  • How do I manage the subconscious (or conscious) fear of not being enough in my ministry? How can I address this fear with God’s truth?
  • In what ways do I experience shame in my work, finances, or personal life? How do these feelings affect my ministry?
  • What are some examples of temporary, redemptive shame that I have experienced? How have I grown through these experiences?
  • How can I differentiate between temporary, redemptive shame and toxic, identity-based shame in my life and leadership? Do I struggle with identity-based shame in this season? If so, how would I describe these struggles? What steps can I take to overcome this pervasive shame I am experiencing?
  • What can I do to ensure that the grace of God is more salient in my consciousness than the feelings of shame? 
  • Have I ever practiced daily affirmations? If not, why not? If so, how was that experience?
  • How can daily affirmations of God’s love transform my perception of myself and enhance my effectiveness as a ministry leader? How can I incorporate this into my day?
  • In what ways can I incorporate silence and meditation into my daily routine to deepen my awareness of God’s unconditional love? Do I think this will be challenging? If so, how can I remove some of the obstacles that might make this difficult?
  • How do I handle feelings of envy towards other pastors or ministry leaders? What practical steps can I take to overcome these feelings?
  • What can I do to foster empathy and understanding among my congregation, recognizing that everyone faces hidden struggles?
  • How can I create a culture where shame is named and addressed openly, fostering healing and support within my community? What would it take to lead our local ministry into becoming a safe place like this?
  • How do I balance the need for performance and the understanding of God’s grace in my personal and professional life?
  • What spiritual practices, like meditation, gratitude, or affirmations, can I incorporate into my routine to reduce the impact of shame and enhance my awareness of God’s love? 
  • How do I ensure that I am living from my true, God-created identity rather than a false self, driven by the need for approval? Do I need to make some changes in this area? If so, what changes am I considering?
  • How can I encourage my congregation to experience and recognize God’s love in both everyday moments and unexpected experiences?
  • What unique calling and vision has God given me for my ministry? How can I embrace that calling without feeling pressured to imitate others?
  • How can I support and mentor other ministry leaders in recognizing and embracing their unique callings while navigating the challenges of shame and performance?

Full-Text Transcript

How can we overcome our fears of not being enough, of falling short, of losing face?

Jason Daye
In this episode, I’m joined by Ken Shigematsu. Ken is the senior pastor of Tenth Church in Vancouver, one of the largest and most diverse city-center churches in all of Canada. Ken is an international best-selling author, and his latest book is entitled Now I Become Myself. Together, Ken and I explore how God’s grace can bring healing to our feelings of inadequacy, shame, and envy. Ken also shares how we can take down the masks that we often wear in ministry and find our true selves in Christ. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Jason Daye 
Hello, friends, and welcome to yet another insightful episode of FrontStage BackStage. I am your host, Jason Daye. Each and every week, I have the privilege and the honor of sitting down with a trusted ministry leader. We dive into a conversation all in an effort to help you and pastors and ministry leaders just like you embrace a healthy rhythm for both your life and ministry. Now, we are proud to be a part of the Pastor Serve Network. Not only do we enter into a conversation every week, but our team also creates a toolkit that complements this conversation. You can find that toolkit at PastorServe.org/network. In that toolkit are a number of resources, including our Ministry Leaders Growth Guide. This growth guide includes insights and questions so that you and the ministry leaders in your local church can dig more deeply into the topic that we discussed. So we encourage you to avail yourself of that resource. Again, at PastorServe.org/network. Now, at Pastor Serve, we love walking alongside pastors and ministry leaders. We have a team of trusted coaches that do this week in and week out. If you’d like to learn more about how you can receive a complimentary coaching session with one of our trusted coaches, you can find that information at PastorServe.org/freesession. Now, if you’re joining us on YouTube please give us a thumbs up and take a moment to drop your name and the name of your church in the comments below. We love getting to know our audience better and we will be praying for you and for your ministry. Whether you’re joining us on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform, please be sure to subscribe and follow. You do not want to miss out on any of these great conversations. I’m excited about our conversation today. At this time, I’d like to welcome Ken Shigematsu to the show. Ken, welcome.

Ken Shigematsu 
Thanks, Jason. Great to be with you, your viewers, and listeners.

Jason Daye 
Yeah. So glad to have you, brother. Now, as pastors and ministry leaders, it seems that sometimes we wrestle with some feelings that maybe we’re just not enough, right? That we’re just falling short in some way. It could have to do with the way that we are preparing our messages or the way that we’re serving our people, or the way that we’re impacting our community, or whatever it might be. But oftentimes we wrestle with these feelings that we’re just not enough. Ken, you address some of these feelings that people experience along those lines. Can you talk to us a little bit about maybe why that happens to us in ministry that we feel this way?

Ken Shigematsu 
Yeah, I think that there are just a whole lot of expectations that people have and that we have of ourselves. You mentioned that regularly, ministers may feel like they’re not quite enough sometimes. That feeling of not enough isn’t conscious, but it’s unconscious. So, for example, I’ve had a dream from time to time that I’m running late for an important meeting and reach for my phone. In the dream, I can’t write the text or can’t make the call to let people know I’m late. Another dream that I’ve had from time to time is one where I’m getting set to speak somewhere and five minutes before I have no idea what I’m supposed to say. I reach for a piece of paper, get a pen, scratch out an outline, and get up in front of the group. I look down, and all I see is the number sign, exclamation mark, and question mark. I have no idea what these symbols are supposed to trigger in my mind and the remembrance. So I think that at a subconscious level, I have this fear along with at a conscious level of not being enough that the dream reveals.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, so how do those feelings that we have relate to this idea of shame?

Ken Shigematsu 
Yeah, well, the Bible and modern social science has a word for this fear of not being enough. That is shame. The sense that we don’t quite measure up. The fact that we’re not quite enough and we can feel shame when we don’t do as well at work or ministry as we had hoped. We can feel shame about our financial situation if it’s bad. We can feel shame about our financial situation if it’s good, but we’re comparing it to someone who seems to have it even better. We can feel ashamed over our bodies, all kinds of things. Shame can cause us either to shrink back and go small or to try and go big in order to prove ourselves, to validate ourselves.

Jason Daye 
Yet, when we look at this idea of shame, Ken, in your book Now I Become Myself, as I was reading through that, one of the things I’ve often heard is conversations around guilt and shame. Really, a lot of times people talk about guilt as guilt can sometimes be helpful. But shame is predominantly negative and unhealthy. As I was reading Now I Become Myself, you were sharing about this idea of shame and talking about that. There are some healthy aspects to shame. But there are also some very toxic types of shame. Can you kind of unpack that, kind of help us process through that, and help us understand the differences there?

Ken Shigematsu 
Yeah, I think that there can be a kind of redemptive shame if it’s temporary. So, for example, I know someone who worked for a very famous tech company with a very famous president of that company and founder. I was just curious about this famous person’s management style. So I asked this person, what was it like to work with so-and-so? What was his management style like? My friend said, look, he would come into a room where we were working, and he would just start swearing at us and the things we were doing. Then he’d walk out. That was his management style. That was it. Apparently, this famous person had no sense of shame. Just cussing some of his most important workers out. So, I think it’s healthy to have the capacity for shame. I define it as feeling lowered in the eyes of someone else, if it’s temporary, and if it causes us to shift our behavior, maybe to apologize if that’s called for. But when shame becomes part of our identity, when it becomes an ongoing sense that we’re not enough, then it’s toxic. So temporary state shame can be redemptive, God says, even in Jeremiah through his prophet, you have no capacity to blush, and you feel no shame. So in that sense, shame can be I think, redemptive. But if it becomes part of our ongoing identity, the way we see ourselves, if we see ourselves, as Brene Brown puts it, fundamentally flawed and unworthy of love, then it’s toxic and it’s unhelpful. That would be trait shame versus state shame. More of a temporary shame versus a long-term identity.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that distinction is really helpful, Ken, and as we kind of think, through our lives, our ministries. Ken, how do we evaluate whether or not shame is something that is consistently popping up in a temporary way? Right, state shame? Like, oh, yeah, maybe my behavior is God is using some shame redemptively in my life, as opposed to the fact that we’re living with this kind of toxic, unhealthy, almost permanent state of shame. How do we differentiate those in our own lives?

Ken Shigematsu 
Yeah, I feel that if the shame, guilt, or the conviction is short term and we allow that to become like a kind of warning signal on the dashboard of our lives, we turn to God and confess it, and then if we feel a sense of freedom, a sense of unconsciousness around that mistake, and we can put it in the past, then that’s probably a healthy thing. But even after confession, even after we’ve repented and lifted it up to God, we continue to feel a sense of residual guilt and shame. We continue to ruminate and just circle back to that mistake or that feeling of not being enough, then it’s probably toxic shame for them.

Jason Daye 
So how do we begin to address it if we recognize that there is unhealthy toxic shame in our lives? How do we begin to address that, especially as pastors and ministry leaders, as we look at this idea of again, as we mentioned earlier, not feeling like we’re good enough? Wrestling with shame. Shame could be because of things that we have done or things that we have not done, right? Where do we go whenever we recognize this toxic shame in our lives?

Ken Shigematsu 
Yeah, in 1 John, the Apostle says, perfect love casts out fear, including the fear of rejection, which is at the very core of shame. So to begin with, I feel that it’s really important for pastors, ministry leaders, whoever, to live from a place of recognizing that they are the beloved. In order to do that, we need to savor the fact that we are loved. Kurt Thompson, someone who I interviewed in the book, is a Christian psychiatrist and friend, points out that it only takes two or three seconds for shame to form in our consciousness. But it takes 60 to 90 seconds for an affirmation to form. So shame, for whatever reason, is much stickier and more salient in our consciousness than affirmation. So, in the mornings, I set aside some time for silence. At the end of that time of silence, I will imagine God the Father saying over me what he said over Jesus at His baptism. As I did this morning, I’ll close my eyes, take a deep breath, and I’ll say, Ken, as if God was speaking, you are My beloved son, in you I delight. Take a deep breath, repeat it again. Ken, you are My beloved son, in you I delight. Take a deep breath and repeat it a third time. Ken, you are My beloved son, in whom I delight. So, I want to begin this day out of a sense of feeling and sensing my belovedness. If people think that’s inappropriate, the apostle Paul teaches that if we are in Christ, as he says in Ephesians, that all of the love and affection that God has for his only Son Jesus, he has for us. So it’s perfectly appropriate. Then I heard Gabor Mate, who is a Vancouver-based physician and author, being interviewed. As far as I know, he’s not a religious person, I think he’s of Jewish ancestry. But a successful CEO was in a conversation with him. The CEO admitted to struggling with feelings of darkness and shame and said, Dr. Mate, when I’m feeling down, when I’m feeling the sense of not being enough, what do I do? Dr. Mate said, you should go for a walk, ideally outside, but if you can’t go outside, walk somewhere inside. Then, bring to mind a memory of someone who loved you. Then, you should be in a different space, both psychologically and psychically. So one of the things that we can do is we can bring to mind someone who has loved us into being, someone who has loved us without condition or almost without condition, maybe remember how they loved us. That person’s face and imagining that memory can be a window into how God loves us. So, for example, sometimes, on my Sabbath day, I’ll take a long walk on the beach with our golden retriever, and I’ll bring to mind some of the memories of how God has loved me through people. One memory that I brought to mind recently is being a three or four-year-old boy, we were living in England, I was at the pool with my dad, and I couldn’t swim at that stage in my life being three or four. My dad carried me to the deep end of the pool. I remember feeling afraid but safe, but fearful but loved, and I thanked God for my dad, who passed away a few years ago, but his memory and his life in my consciousness live richly. So that becomes a window of God’s love in my life through him.

Jason Daye 
That’s excellent, Ken. As we process through this and think through some of the practices that we can engage in when we’re feeling this sense of shame, how does God’s grace relate to healing our shame?

Ken Shigematsu 
Yeah, that’s a great, great question. If we’ve received affirmation or approval, it’s likely because we’ve done something well. So when we were students, back in our student days, if we’re out of school now. Maybe we aced the test, and we were praised by a teacher or a parent. Maybe we performed well in a sporting event or crushed it at a musical performance, and we were honored or affirmed. As pastors and ministry leaders, maybe we preached a good sermon, or we led a meeting well, and we were praised because of it. Because almost all of our praise and affirmation occurs when we either do something well or have been “good,” we’re conditioned to believe that love is dependent on our performance, that it’s conditional. Even if we’re Christian ministers of some kind, and if at an unconscious level, if not at a conscious level, it’s hard for us to really believe that God loves us without condition. When we can tap into the fact that God is a God of grace who loves us, sometimes despite ourselves, despite our flaws, that is really freeing. Ironically, when we realize the vastness of God’s grace, how wide, long, high, and deep it is, according to Scripture, it’s God’s kindness that inspires us toward repentance and draws us close to Him. So, if we can be reminded of grace again and again, that will help us overcome our shame. Because understanding grace, the experience of grace, and the experience of shame are incompatible. They’re like oil and water, they can’t be together. If I had an empty class here, which I don’t, I could try to empty the glass of air by holding it upside down, or I could fill it with water, the second strategy is a lot better. If we can be filled with a sense of God’s grace, that will flush out the sense of toxic shame that we may feel.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, I love that. That’s beautiful imagery. Ken, when we think of the idea of shame, oftentimes, if we put on our kind of biblical scholar hat, we run back to the Garden of Eden, right? One of the first instances, obviously, of shame. In that moment of creation in the garden, when shame entered in, there was this covering, right? You write in Now I Become Myself about this idea of covering this idea of our false self. It seems that oftentimes, in the vocation of ministry, there’s a great temptation to cover up or to present a false self. Yet that can be debilitating, right? So can you help talk us through kind of a little bit about this concept of the false self and how that trips us up? How do we really navigate toward and better understand our true self?

Ken Shigematsu 
Yeah, I think of the wisdom of spiritual master Thomas Merton here, who said that we human beings tend to feel invisible. So, we tend to wrap ourselves with bandages. Bandages of achievement, bandages of material possessions, bandages of pleasures, and bandages of creating an image of ourselves that will be seen by others as special in order to feel visible. Merton points out that when we build an identity around what we achieve, what we have, and how others view us, we start living from a false self. We become someone we’re not. We start to live for what we feel will bring the approval of others. We may become a very “successful” person because we’re driven to win the affirmation of others. We might become this is especially true if you’re Japanese or Canadian, and I’m Japanese, you might try and become a very nice person. So that you’re seen as a good guy or a good girl. We start to live outside of our inner essence. We start to live not from our unique made-in-the-image-of-God’s self, but we start to take on a persona that we think will win the approval of others. So we start living from our false self, and when we feel the love of God, the grace of God, as you mentioned, and are safe and secure in that. In the same way that happens when we feel really safe and secure with a person in our lives, a friend or family member. We can just be ourselves, we don’t need to put on a mask, and we don’t need to prove anything. We can just be our truest self, our made-in-the-image-of-God self.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, Ken, I love that. One of the challenges I think that we have in ministry is we tend to think, if someone really knew me. If they really knew me with all my scars, all my failures, and all my stuff, then they would have trouble looking at me as a spiritual leader, perhaps, let alone as a friend. So, Ken, for us in ministry, when we think about this idea of putting up that mask, covering ourselves, those bandages, as you said, and those types of things. What specifically might be able to help us move into that place where we, as you said, understand just the grace of God to such a degree, and it allows us to really be our true selves?

Ken Shigematsu 
Yeah, I feel that in spiritual practice it is really important. So at the end of each of the chapters in Now I Become Myself, there are some prayer exercises that I hope and pray awaken people in a fresh sense to the grace of God. Occasionally a person will experience God’s love out of the blue. So there was a time some years ago, when I was probably at the lowest point in my life, or one of the lowest points, and really down and depressed. I was sitting in my small apartment where I was living at the time, it was dark in the apartment, I wasn’t praying, and I wasn’t in a good space spiritually. Out-of-the-blue, it was like God’s love came into the room. It was just so sweet. I can’t explain it in words. Part of the reason I believe in God to this day is because of that experience. It is on a rare occasion that some people will have a kind of out-of-the-blue experience of God’s love. But we can also experience God in a more everyday way through spiritual practices. So I began each morning with a little bit of physical exercise. I like to swim or run. So that’s a good way for me to start my day. But then I enter into a time of silence where I sit and savor the love of God. My mind is very easily distracted, Jason. So I use a sacred word to help focus me during my time in silence, it’s usually “love” as a reminder of God’s character and posture. Love, just a simple word. Then I use the affirmation that I described earlier. Ken, you are my beloved son in whom I’m well pleased, and I begin virtually every day this way. So over time, this has attuned me more to an awareness of God’s love when I’m not in prayer or when I’m not in meditation. As my friend Kurt Thompson, psychiatrist, would point out, my neural networks have developed in such a way that it’s now easier for me to access God’s love when I’m not praying because I’ve been in this habit. It’s a spiritual practice that awakens us to a sense of God’s love, whether it’s meditation, Sabbath, or a gratitude exercise can be very powerful in helping us overcome shame and live with a greater awareness of God’s love.

Jason Daye 
That’s lovely. That’s powerful, Ken. As we think of our lives as pastors and ministry leaders, one of the things that you touch on in Now I Become Myself is this idea of envy, right? How that plays so much into the shame and what we carry. As ministry leaders, as much as we know we shouldn’t be envious, it’s hard in our day and age not to compare ourselves to another pastor, perhaps. Or our ministry and our church to another. We can become envious. We can get caught up in that cycle. Ken, I would love for you to walk us through a little bit of addressing this idea of how do we overcome envy specifically from the posture of a pastor or ministry leader who knows we shouldn’t be envious. Yet we still have that temptation.

Ken Shigematsu 
Yeah, Michael Ray, a philosopher, said that envy is the primary sin of modern times. So it’s pervasive, especially in this age of social media. It’s something that I naturally struggle with. I’m a three on the Enneagram. Three, if you’re not familiar with this personality typing system, is the competitor, the achiever. So I mentioned a few moments ago that I like to begin my morning with a swim, Jason. I’m not an especially fast swimmer. But this was true this morning, as I was swimming, if I noticed that someone in the lane beside me was about to reach the wall before me, I would speed up to get to the wall first. I know it’s pathetic, I’m pathetic. But if I touch the wall first I’ll feel a little bit better about myself. I can be prone to make envious comparisons and think, Well, this other person, pastor is so much more productive and fruitful than I am. I envy that person and I feel miserable. Here’s what I found helps, and there’s a chapter on it in the book. I describe how I seek to pray for that person who I may see as a rival. If it’s possible to love them in some way, I’ll do that, or serve them in some way. So there was a pastor, that I thought, this pastor is so productive, so fruitful, and I saw that this pastor had written something. So I read the book and it was truly great. I was able to write with sincerity a five-star review. As soon as I hit post, I just felt this lightness and this inexplicable joy. I’ve also found that from time to time, I’ve gotten to know really successful people, whether they’re pastors or in some other field. A Samuel Johnson rightly points out, no one is to be envied because everyone is suffering in some way. Everyone has some kind of secret battle. So I found that successful either pastors or people in other fields, maybe they struggle with a tendency toward anxiety and depression, or maybe one of their kids is addicted to porn. They’re suffering in some way just like we are. So no one is to be envied and we’re on the same team.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s helpful. When we think of God, one of the great characteristics of God is that God is a redeemer, right? He has redemptive power. Ken, help us process through this idea of God’s redemptive power in relation to the shame that we might be carrying or wrestling with. Where’s the hope that we can find in the midst of that?

Ken Shigematsu 
Well, there’s hope that God can redeem our own story and, in the midst of shame, interrupt us and surprise us with joy. But as ministry leaders and pastors, as we named that shame, sometimes in private conversations, but sometimes more publicly, we can see how God redeems that shame or can. So for example, in the fall, this past fall, I was experiencing some uncharacteristic insomnia. I was waking up with some low depressive moods. We had had one of our student leaders, or youth leaders, who was also the son of a pastor, take his life by suicide. We experienced one of our colleagues, a pastor on our team, go through a very painful and acrimonious divorce. We thought their marriage was great, but then it came out that it was not. I got sort of pulled into the vortex of that conflict. For those and some other reasons, I started losing sleep in the fall. Waking up in these low depressive moods. I was flying out to Toronto to speak somewhere and I should have been happy and joyful. But I was thinking on the plane, I don’t want to do this. So my wife wisely suggested we should see your physician, your doctor. I talked to my doctor and he said, Ken, maybe you want to step away from work for two or three months and take a medical leave, a kind of a rest sabbatical. With the support of our board, I did that. One board member with every good intention suggested that maybe you should just say it’s a sabbatical. But I felt that I should just be very open and honest with our congregation and talk about how I had been struggling with insomnia, and feelings of depression, particularly first thing in the morning, my doctor was suggesting I take a leave, and I did that. I went off email. But when I came back, I noticed that there were a number of messages saying, Thank you for being so open, transparent, and real. I also struggle with insomnia, or I struggle with depression, or I’m thinking about taking a leave. It just humanizes it, too. It gave me an opportunity to encourage people to go in a certain direction and walk with people in a way that I hadn’t been able to before. So God can take our weaknesses and our failures and use them for something beautiful. Jim Houston is the founder of a seminary out here in our city called Regent College, which I’m sure many of your viewers and listeners are familiar with. Jim Houston once said The basis of friendship is shared weakness. You know, when we brag, that’s a sign that we’re probably feeling shame, or at least it is for me. But when we are open with our weaknesses, including the shame that we feel, often that becomes a bridge for people to connect with us and a bridge for people to experience God’s grace in new and fresh ways.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, I love that. That’s beautiful, Ken, and thank you for sharing, being open, and transparent, and sharing your story. I’m sure it’s encouraging to other pastors and ministry leaders who are watching and listening even now. Ken, I’d love to give you an opportunity to speak, you have the ears and eyes of brothers and sisters who are serving in ministry. I’d love to give you the opportunity just to speak some words of encouragement. What would you speak into their lives today?

Ken Shigematsu 
Yeah. Next week, I’m going to be seeing my longtime mentor and friend Leighton Ford. His wife fairly recently died and he was also even more recently diagnosed with bladder cancer. It’s not life-threatening, but I’m going to be with him in the days following his surgery. So he’s been on my mind. When it came to this church that I’m pastoring now, 27-28 years ago the church has cycled through 20 ministers in 20 years and had gone from over 1000 to 100 and something. The board felt we might not be viable and we might have to close our doors. In the first two or three days, the Secretary walked into my office and said Ken, if the ship sinks now, everyone will blame you because you were the last captain to help. I think she was trying to motivate me to work harder. I just felt really discouraged and deflated. Then Leighton Ford happened to be visiting from Charlotte, North Carolina. We were sitting in my car outside the church, he crossed his long legs and looked at me and said, Ken, is there anything that I can do for you to support you while you’re here, or as you begin your ministry, and I thought I could really use some encouragement right now, but I felt too ashamed. So I said, Maybe you could give me some counsel as a new young pastor here. He uncrossed his legs and thought, and he said, remember that God is an artist, he will not lead you to copy anyone else. So seek God for a unique vision for this place and support for your ministry. I would say to your friends, viewers, and listeners, don’t feel the pressure to be like someone else, to be someone you’re not. Seek God for the unique call that He has for you and your ministry. Embrace it and know that is true greatness. God is cheering you on and is delighted in who you are and who you’re becoming as you steward your calling.

Jason Daye 
That’s beautiful. Beautiful, Ken, absolutely love it. Thank you for Now I Become Myself, your most recent book. Thank you for just opening our eyes and our hearts to this thing, that’s shame, right? It’s one of those things that we don’t want to talk about because we are ashamed of talking about shame, really, when it comes down to it. But thank you for opening it up in such a beautiful way and inviting people into those spiritual practices, just to experience that healing from the shame, and what that means in our lives. Developing that rhythm, as you said, you share multiple times here, how you have that rhythm that keeps you connected. That helps you have that sense that you indeed are God’s beloved, right? I think those are so very, very important. So thank you for that. For those of you who are watching or listening, we’ll have links to Ken’s book in the toolkit for this episode along with a lot of other resources, including the Ministry Leaders Growth Guide that you can use with the leaders at your local church. We encourage you to check it out at PastorServe.org/network. Ken, it has been such a pleasure to have you on the show. Thank you for making the time in your schedule to hang out with us and to share from your heart and from your own experience as a pastor and ministry leader.

Ken Shigematsu 
Thanks, Jason. It’s been a joy to be with you. All right.

Jason Daye 
All right. God bless you, brother.

Ken Shigematsu 
God bless you, too. Thanks.

Jason Daye
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at PastorServe.org/network. That’s PastorServe.org/network. And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at PastorServe.org/network We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.

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