We have all had “those days” in ministry. The days that you wish you could forget and you hope don’t happen again. I had one of “those days” a few weeks ago. I woke up like any other day, things were busy but everything was fine. I got to the office, sat down, started working, and then the phone rang. Our admin assistant said there was a parent on line one that wanted to speak to me. Man, a day can change quickly! This parent was definitely on the war path, not even looking for answers, just upset! It was one of those interactions where you are just left with that feeling in the pit of your stomach for the rest of the day. Needless to say, I didn’t get as much work done as I was hoping for which then led to stress and feeling overwhelmed. Before youth group I ran into “that” church member who apparently knows way more about youth ministry than I do and just had to give me their opinion on what I should be doing. And then to top it off it was one of those random low attendance nights at youth group, just a day full of disappointment in ministry.
Those days stink! But we have all experienced those days, and if you haven’t, brace yourself, it’s coming. Those days where events that you have spent so much time on just flop, where parents go off on you, when you hear about a student you have poured so much time into running away from The Lord, when you have frustrations with other staff members, or when you are just annoyed by everything that happens that day. Disappointing days will happen, but how do you keep going when they do hit? How do you keep from giving up?
When disappointing days hit here is what we need to remember.
1. Why you are doing it.
Go back to the beginning and remember why you are doing ministry. When stuff happens in ministry it is so easy to start questioning if you should even be in ministry. There is that little voice that says “maybe you should do something else” and, “if you weren’t in ministry things would be way easier” and while its true, things probably would be easier, you are forgetting why you are in ministry in the first place. Remind yourself of your call to ministry. Take yourself back to why you got started in ministry in the first place. Remind yourself of the good things that have happened in your ministry, those “why I do this” moments that you have seen in the past. One thing I do is to save the encouraging notes and letters, or write down and save the awesome situations that happen so that I can pull them out on those discouraging days and remember why I am doing ministry.
2. Who you are doing it for.
Remember WHO you are doing ministry for. Most of the time we experience disappointment in ministry or we have “those days” it is a result of someone’s opinion of us or our ministry. We need to constantly remind ourselves that we don’t work for people, we work for The Lord.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters
This verse is talking about servants in a household, but I think it can relate very well to ministry workers serving in the local church. We are serving the people of the church and we hear their opinions, parents of student’s opinions, and student’s opinions but we need to remind ourselves that we are not working for human masters but rather for The Lord.
You and I are not in charge of outcomes, or of how other people act or respond. We can only control our own actions and work for God’s approval. Things are not always going to be easy in ministry and rough days will happen. But it is always important to go back to the beginning and remember who is in charge. So, next time you are having one of the “those days” remember why you are in ministry and who you are in ministry for.