Archives For Perseverance

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Matt Norman —  September 20, 2010

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.

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Whose Idea Was This Anyway?

As children’s leaders, we often schedule a full time passion in a part time calendar. There just isn’t enough time to get everything done that our hearts want to do.  And with the availability of so many great ideas for ministry through social networks, the idea base grows by leaps and bounds while our available time frame stays the same. My passion for kids knowing Jesus causes me to want to try to do everything possible to help facilitate those relationships. But there simply isn’t enough time in my day (or night) to do everything. The more I see, the more I want to do, and all too often, the more I feel disappointed in myself for not accomplishing it all. It’s dealing with that disappointment, and sometimes, shame, that has been a hard lesson for me to learn. I try to do my best, give it all I have. But many times, all I have isn’t enough to do all I would like. And I feel like a failure in those times.

What I have learned is that I have to discern whose idea it was to start with: mine or God’s. I have lots of ideas. Some are better than others. Some I truly believe are inspired by God. Some are simply the result of too much coffee and too little sleep. Most are good ideas that would be great for our children’s ministry. But, there are a few that I know are God-ideas. Those are the ideas that come with a deep tug at my heart. Those are the ones that stop me in my tracks, or jump off a page. Those are the ones that I have to make top priority. And, I believe, those are the ones that Phillipians 4:13 will cover, Continue Reading…