I have said several times this week that 2012 needs to shape itself up. It has been a tough start to the year. I hope your 2012 has started better. The reality is that we all go through seasons in ministry, some short and some not so short, that quite simply stink. It might be a season where church members are grumpy or your boss is grumpy. It might be a season where tough decisions are having to be made. It might be a season where everything feels hard. It might be a season of change. It might be a time of tragedy or high drama. But those seasons come.
My default reaction is that I really just need to go drink milkshakes on the beach, but unfortunately that is not reality. This morning God showed me an awesome verse that flat out tells us what to do:
Keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:5
1. Keep your head in all situations: Don’t become overwhelmed or stressed to the point that you aren’t making sense. As Jim Wideman said (when I might have called and asked if I could just be a paid childcare worker for him instead), “Get your game face on and do what has to be done.” Get your game face on, face the stuff, and make the tough, wise decisions. Pray for wisdom. Don’t become immobilized by the drama or the yuck. Keep yourself together, walk in wisdom, and don’t lose it. I don’t know if I’ve exhibited this, but I believe that true leaders lead best in times of stress and difficulty.
2. Endure hardship: Yuck doesn’t feel good. It probably hurts. It is probably stressful. It probably feels pretty unfair. But you have to remember that it is a season and seasons pass. The Message version of this verse says “accept the hard times along with the good”. If you are in ministry long enough, you will have difficulties. Remember, Jesus told us, “In this world you will have trouble”. That includes in kidmin! But the good news is that He has overcome the world and He will help you endure the hardship as well. Tomorrow will be better, and if it is not, it is one day closer to it being better.
3. Do the work of an evangelist: Our calling, whatever season we are in, is to share the gospel with people. Big people and short people. Look for ways that God can use your season that stinks to share the good news with other people. If your season of difficulty is one that is shared within your church or your community, people are likely searching for hope. Look for ways to provide the only hope that lasts – Jesus. The yuck that surrounds us must challenge us to not go hide in the closet, but to press on to share the gospel with others.
4. Discharge all the duties of your ministry: Do what you’ve been called to do. Don’t let the details and the responsibilities slip because of the difficulty of the season. In the past couple of weeks I didn’t particularly feel like writing a large group lesson but it is still my job even when there are other demands. You still have to do your job. You still have to lead.
Have you been through a season that stinks in ministry? What advice would you share? How did you deal with it?