Serve Strong

Biblical Encouragement to Sustain God’s Servants


Serve Strong helps volunteers as well as vocational Christian workers combat discouragement, persevere through weariness and cultivate endurance for the long haul.

Serve the Lord long enough and discouragement or some form of opposition is inevitable. Joy-sapping workloads, feelings of inadequacy, lack of fruitfulness, or battle fatigue from spiritual warfare often spurs God’s servants to quit or sabotages their passion. This book infuses the reader with biblical perspectives that buoy flagging spirits, boost motivation and cultivate endurance.

Spiritual warfare.
Feelings of inadequacy for a called task.
Relationship conflicts.
Apparent lack of results.
Failure in an endeavor.
Weariness from overwork.
Discouragement due to weaknesses of temperament or personal battles with temptation.

No matter what joy or other benefits you derive from serving the Lord, the factors previously listed threaten motivation for and resiliency in ministry.

This book illustrates the biblical principles that have sustained me for almost 50 years of vocational ministry. I understand the burnout that can come in various roles such as a biblical university professor, church staff member, itinerant Bible teacher, and trainer of national workers in 13 countries.

Every chapter offers a reassuring biblical perspective, and illustrates it in the life of someone who was or is engaged in ministry. Historical figures whose stories dot the pages of Serve Strong include, but aren’t limited to these:

  • David Brainerd
  • D. L. Moody
  • Hudson Taylor
  • William Wilberforce
  • John Newton
  • Charles Spurgeon
  • CIU’s own legendary professor, the late James “Buck” Hatch

A number of times as I worked on this book, the truth I was trying to convey touched my heart and moved me to tears. If that I have written touches only the cognitive domain of leaders, I have failed. I sincerely want Serve Strong to feed your soul, warm your heart, and strengthen your hands for ministry.

If you obtain it and God’s Spirit ministers to you through it, I hope you’ll mention it to others or get a copy for someone in leadership. One church has ordered 50 copies from the publisher to give to lay teachers. A foundation that supports 225 missionaries ordered a copy for everyone it supports. Two other mission agencies ordered copies for their headquarters staff.

In 2018, a group of missionaries serving in European countries, linked to Pioneers Mission Agency,  hosted a SERVE STRONG conference during their annual meeting and asked me to visit and share insights from the Serve Strong book. A couple of their missionaries had read the book and were greatly encouraged by it.

Soli Deo Gloria! Glory to God! 

There is a biblical counter to the discouragement that Satan foments among God’s servants, and Terry spells it out vividly and with proven authority. His book is a potent antibiotic for the Christian worker’s struggling soul.

J. I. Packer

Theologian and Best-selling author

This book will go a long way toward convincing God’s servants that their labor is not in vain.

Stuart Briscoe

Pastor and best-selling author

I can’t remember reading a more powerful book of encouragement for pastors, missionaries, and lay Bible teachers. Well-written, practical, fresh, penetrating—and a fun read! I heartily recommend Serve Strong for you, or as a gift for any professional or lay leader.

Robertson McQuilkin

Former CIU president

If we are discouraged, disheartened, or at the point of just wanting to quit, Serve Strong will be of help to you… to keep you faithful and centered on the prime things that matter in ministry, and to keep you serving strong.

~ Marv Newell, Editor, Missio Nexus, Leader’s Edge Book Summary


As I read chapter by chapter I found myself shouting “Yes!”—sometimes out loud! Terry’s transparency is encouraging… What needed words for those of us who are called to teach Bible.”

~ Mary Faith Phillips, Retired Bible Teaching Program Director, Columbia International University


Terry has the ability to express profound truths in a clear, understandable manner. This book will serve the body of Christ well!

~ Elizabeth Davis


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