Ministry Tip #4: Learn to Say "No".
Your friendship with God is more important than your ministry.
First, you fell in love with God and then you wanted everyone else to know the same joy and freedom that you have found, so ministry begins in one form or another. This can look as many different ways as there are people; but ministry happens.
Ministry to others is a good thing. A beautiful thing and an obedient thing.
The tough twist that comes later is that our busy-ness doing His business can slowly begin to creep into our intimate time with Him. You know what I mean don't you? You finally grab a moment to just sit and breath and be still with God.......and the to-do list for the upcoming women's luncheon pops into your mind. Or the notes for the Bible Study need to be copied off, the nursery needs re-organizing, the Fall Retreat is still missing a driver, and the conference next month still needs tweaking!
You know what I'm saying.
It is understandable for crazy weeks to happen a few times a year. The "Holidays" are notorious for being anything but merry for those in ministry jobs. Sometimes church or ministry organization events cause our lives to slip into chaos-mode for a week or two. I believe that is normal and to be expected.
If we are slipping into a pattern of accepting jobs or responsibilities because "If I don't do it, it won't get done", we are entering a really dangerous place to live. Exhaustion is not pleasing to The Father's heart. It is not. He is more concerned with YOU.
As I read Facebook and blogs, I see an almost competitive pride in being super-busy. We list the items we have to get accomplished by the end of the day and compare our stress levels with one another. "To Do" lists and clever planners can be as pretty and decorative as you want, but if your day is jam-packed with activity, it may be time to re-evaluate.
Within church ministry there has been an under-lying belief that we (the church) need to provide every ministry program possible to the people. If they want it, we feel obligated to make it happen, even if there is no one on the staff or a volunteer who has a passion or desire to lead it. Sadly, this can lead to a pitiful group of teenagers being led by a volunteer who really has no passion or talent for youth-work, in weekly meetings that could be sending the opposite message to your kids than what is desired.
It is entirely possible that the one who has the gifting to lead your kids will not step forward until there is a space for them. An opening that causes them to look inside and talk to God about it. Randomly filling the space out of panic to fill an "urgent need", can be robbing the right person of that job and ministry. We must learn to say "no" to the need and "yes" to God's urging.
Personally, when I was in the thick of ministry life, I had to learn that my relationship, my friendship, my romance with Jesus is NUMBER ONE. If my time is filled to overflowing with ministry events and planning, I start to sense a hunger that is not being fed. I don't even know what is missing at first! Sometimes it is hard to recognize what is wrong with this picture. Life is good, people are being healed, set free and we are getting it done! But the thought comes..."God, are you there? Hellooo?"
Time to look at priorities. Ask God about your schedule. His credit system may be totally opposite to yours. He loves YOU, not what you DO.
Which came first? Who comes first? He loves WHO you are much more than what you DO.
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