What I Wish I Knew at 30

Barbara Graves —  November 17, 2011

As the years went by in ministry, I learned a lot.  But still, after 11 years in kidmin, there was still so much I didn’t know.  Looking back now, here’s what I wish I knew at 30:

You can say no.

It’s ok, even though what you have been asked to do will make an eternal difference somewhere to someone, if you are all ready booked, if all your hours are all ready taken, then it’s ok to say no.

You are not called to do everything.  You are called to do the thing that God has given you a deep passion and burden to do.  So often in my 30s, I would find myself completely overwhelmed by tasks and projects that had been added to my plate.  Not forcibly, but by my own agreement.  These were all things that were great projects.  They were often noble tasks.  They almost always resulted in someone feeling God’s love.  But they were not what I was called to do.  And it was too much.  But because it was a good thing, I would say yes.

It is ok to say no.  For example, I should say, No, I cannot head up the monthly ladies fellowship dinners.  I don’t have another night away from my family, nor 2 extra hours to go pick up all the ladies who can’t/don’t drive but who want to go to dinner.  I don’t have another 2 hours in the week to follow up on the newcomer’s who attend those dinners and need to connect with the church.  I don’t have the emotional energy left to hear the stories of all the lonely seniors whose husbands have passed.   All those things need to happen.  This is a good thing. But I’m the children’s pastor, and I have plenty of families who need my emotional support.  The ladies need someone else to head this up.  (And of course, I’ll be glad to go and eat cheesecake and drink coffee and listen to 1 sad story.  I can do that.) But I can’t take on an entirely separate ministry. But someone else needs to plan it, lead it, and follow up on it.

If you’re a kidmin in your 30’s, this may be your line.  Learn to say no.

–Say it truthfully. If you have time, and you can do what’s needed, then do it.

–Say it respectfully.  Whether it’s your lead pastor, elder or a parent, be respectful.

–Say it often. In the church there is so much that could be done.  You will have many opportunities.  It’s ok to say it often.

Barbara Graves

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Barbara is a married mother of 4 grown kids. She is the volunteer Children’s Pastor at Momentum Church in Woodstock, GA where she oversees kids from birth to 5th grade. She can often be found driving around north Georgia, usually with a cup of coffee in her hand.

3 responses to What I Wish I Knew at 30

  1. Thank you for this reminder…I’m way past my 30’s but still struggle with saying no (without guilt!) from time to time. Great post.

    • Thanks, Katie! I think this has been one of the hardest areas I have struggled with over the years! People say “my eyes were bigger than my stomach” talking about a literal plate, I have said, “my heart is bigger than my head” when it comes to my ministry plate!!

  2. Great thoughts! Definitely a struggle for me, but one of the best pieces of advice I got was that if I couldn’t say “no” to the wrong things, I won’t be able to say “yes” to the right things.