Ok, I know that I am probably the only children’s pastor/worker/ministry leader that has ever done this, but I am going to share anyway just in case. When I took over our children’s ministry and our children’s church, the Pastor and I had a big vision. After spending some time developing this vision into something I felt like I could communicate clearly, I attacked it like an NFL line backer attacks the quarterback. Pushing aside any lineman that might stand between me and my goal, I gave it my all. This worked great, until…..well, until I got tired. A couple of weeks ago, I was watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play a football game. One of the safeties caught an interception and ran it all the way back, 91 yards, for a touchdown. This was a very exciting play to watch. The Bucs took the lead, and this player took the bench. This worked out ok, because there was another player there to take his place while he recovered from his long sprint. When I took over the children’s ministry I hit it with the same energy as this player running for the end zone. The problem was there was no one to stand in for me while I recovered, and I couldn’t run full speed towards the end zone for an indefinite period of time. This led to a lot of stress and a lot of frustration for me.
I think that this is a trap that many of us fall into at some point during our ministry. For me it was something that my pastor said that ultimately saved me from this frustration. Isn’t it cool how great men and women of God can minister to you without even trying; and often without even knowing it. Isn’t it great how God will give you just the words you need, when you need them the most? Anyways, we were at an evangelism training event at a local church. As we stood around talking with different pastors before the event started, we spoke with one in particular that shared how he was somewhat frustrated by the amount of stuff that needed to be done and the slowness with which progress seemed to come. My pastor looked at him and said the words that changed my ministry forever. He told this pastor that he was in it for the long haul; that he planned to die at this church. He said once you put it in a long term perspective, the pressure to get things done quickly goes away.
That changed everything for me. I am in this for the long haul. I would rather build a ministry with a firm foundation that can outlast me, even it does seem to move slower, than to build it quickly and give it a weak foundation that can not live past me. This is not to say that I don’t want it to build as quickly as I can, but the focus is now one of slow and steady progress. After all as we learned with the story of the tortoise and the hair, slow and steady wins the race. So, I ask are you in this for the long haul? If so (and I think you should be), then keep that in mind as you build your ministry. Build your ministry for 10 years from now, not next week, not next month, or not even next year.