Overcoming When You’re Overwhelmed in Ministry
Written by Jamie Simmons
We’re in an exciting new era! “Exciting?” you may ask. Absolutely! As God’s chosen people who are to proclaim His Word until He comes, we must be not only willing to follow Him in obedience wherever He may lead, but to do it with joy! Jesus, “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). This is the Christian’s example to follow in our current circumstances. We are looking forward to the “joy set before us.” It’s our endgame! But until then, we’re here to do battle for the Kingdom of Heaven, to win souls to Christ for all eternity.
Conditions since March 2020 have left ministries wondering what to do next, how to continue proclaiming the gospel message when we couldn’t do it in person. Our mission hasn’t changed, so how would God have us alter our means and adjust to this new climate? He has known COVID-19 was coming since before the foundation of the world. Since He called us to serve Him, He has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Why have any doubt that He has a plan, which involves us, for the continued spread of the gospel, until He returns? Our Creator is limitless in His resources, able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). Wow–that is a lot! Sometimes, in our arrogance, we are led to believe that our minds are not actually finite, that we can fully understand God’s ways. But this is not so! We are made in His image, but we are certainly not infinite. His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).
So how can we lay aside what our hopes, dreams, and plans were for 2020, and ask the Lord what HIS are, what part He intends our ministry to play in them, and then joyfully join Him in accomplishing HIS purposes?
Ask the Lord to set our hearts in the right place. Ask Him to help us embrace the challenge of this new area of ministry, and to see it as a great opportunity to rely on Him and to make some changes. This is when we become flexible so that we are able to adjust in whatever way He asks. Finally, tell the Lord that we are giving it all to Him. We are willing to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us” (Hebrews 12:1), running with the endurance He alone can give us. We are asking Him to give us hearts of humility, and to remove every selfish and prideful thought. We are asking Him to take over and help us die to ourselves. We were crucified with Christ–it is HIS life we live (Galatians 2:20). We are not our own. We were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20).
2nd–REMIND OURSELVES OF OUR PURPOSE
This is speaking the truth to ourselves, reminding ourselves why God made us and why He saved us. Where can this truth be found? In the living, active Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). We must spend quality time immersing ourselves in it and reminding ourselves that this life He’s given us is not about us–it’s about Him. His will be done, not ours. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed that, if His Father was willing, He would remove the cup of wrath about to be poured out upon Him (Luke 22:41-42). What changes everything is His next word, His submission to His Father–“nevertheless.” Whatever we are asking of the Lord, we must be willing to say “nevertheless, not my will, but Yours.” Our purpose is to bring honor and glory to His name that is above all names–that the world may know that He is God.
Many ministries are doing great things for the Kingdom! Reach out and connect with their leaders. Enhance your tool belt with ideas from others who are in the same boat. We are not in this alone! We are the body of Christ, striving and struggling and battling together to proclaim His name to the nations–our methods may need to change, but our goal is the same. What are others doing that could work for us? We can ask them to pray with us and for us. We can form communities of like-minded Christians with the same vision. We can think outside the box. How can we overcome these challenges together?
4th–STEP OUT IN FAITH
We do not shrink back in fear. We do not sit silent. We do not forsake our calling–to not share the gospel is not an option. We rebuke discouragement because it is not of the Lord. We build ourselves up in the Word so that we can build others up. We set our new goals, and with the Lord’s guidance, plan the action steps needed to get there. Then…we take the next step. Theodore Roosevelt said, “I dream of men who take the next step instead of worrying about the next thousand steps.” We must trust that God will provide and that He will act in His perfect timing, and then be faithful to do our part. “Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It’s simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step” (Joni Eareckson Tada). Stop thinking of what you can’t do and start doing what you can do, through Christ (Philippians 4:13).
What is God asking you to do differently? What is holding you back? Ask Him to show you, and then be still and listen! Be willing to follow wherever and however He may call. His means and methods may not be “what we’re used to.” They may require us to bend, flex, and stretch. They may be unconventional or even (Gasp!) difficult! But His ways are always, 100% of the time, without fail, best. “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b).
Written by Jamie Simmons who serves as the National Director for CBM’s Ministry Development. To learn more about Children Bible Ministries click here.