A recent tweet by MaxLucado reads “How we handle our tough times stays with us for a long time.” That 13-word statement carries a lot of depth.
Life is full of ups and downs. And so is ministry.
In a time when jobs are difficult to find, many churches are also experiencing the challenge of maintaining budgets and funding important initiatives. To make matters worse, the last few years have seen the emergence of lawsuits in the church, which no doubt, do nothing but distract from Kingdom efforts.
Scripture also warns us that we will endure trials (tribulation). So knowing this, what can ministry leaders do to cope with what may well be inevitable? Try keeping these truths in mind:
The goals that are most important often come with the greatest obstacles.
The vision God has given your ministry (or service team) is designed to impact the Kingdom in some way. If you are working diligently toward that goal, you can expect resistance. The Word reminds us of Satan’s desires toward us. And the enemy will do everything he can to discourage and derail us.
Your ministry may be embarking on an effort that includes many “moving parts” and people. For those efforts, know there will be frustrations along the way. Naysayers are often the outliers in organizations. Critical comments or lackluster involvement can create frustrations for those who want to move forward.
God doesn’t waste anything.
Life is a journey—full of ups and downs. Blessings and heartache are part of the process. In ministry, as in life, God can use any circumstance—including the difficult ones—for His good. The key is perspective. We must force ourselves to look beyond an immediate disappointment or conflict. This is a difficult, if not impossible feat, in our own strength. But it is Truth.
Awareness and insight do not happen by accident.
It’s easy to get caught up in the actions and activities of ministry. And when difficult situations arise, we just want to “get through them.” Instead of trying to fast-forward to better times, consider introducing an inquisitive mindset to your perspective. Instead of asking “why is this happening to us,” consider “how can God use this circumstance?” This approach requires intentionality. But it is the approach that allows peace, even during frustrating times.
I don’t know if your ministry is in an “up” or “down” right now. Chances are one or the other is just around the corner.
So take heart, consider a different approach, and embrace the calling God has given you and your ministry. Your ministry IS advancing the Kingdom. The journey is worth it.