I Dare You to Trust God by Taking a Sabbath Even When There's Work to Be Done!
LISTEN TO THIS ARTICLE:
“Hey! I hate having to send this message, but I am going to have to step back from serving in Student Ministry for a bit. Hopefully not forever, but at least for this semester. I’m going through a major transition at work, and it’s going to be extremely time-consuming for the next few months. I’ve already had to miss the first two weeks due to work travel. Once things settle down, I’ll let you know, and maybe I can jump back in!”
Whew! OK, no big deal. We have a great group of leaders in that small group. And the other two can keep things afloat while we recruit a new leader or wait for this leader to return.
Three hours later. . .
“Hey, I wanted to speak to you. I feel that for the time being, I need to take a short break from Student Ministry as far as showing up when our group meets. With the added stress in life and at work, I don’t think I’m in the best place to lead.”
In the second week of our small groups meeting.
Immediately all the negative self-talk starts to swirl.
“What could I have done differently?"
“Am I not leading well enough to captivate and cast vision for these leaders to feel connected to the students and the ministry?”
In addition to all the self-talk, I have work to do. Now I’m down two leaders, behind the eight ball in my normal recruiting cycle, and I have a group to get leader coverage for in a little under a week.
This was my week last week. And trust me, absolutely no shade thrown these leaders’ way; both of them had completely legitimate circumstances take them out of serving for a moment.
But I still had work to do. Meanwhile, I also have my spiritual life to tend to. So, I spent the better part of my week doing things like this instead of what I originally had planned:
- Gathering potential names of prospective leaders
- Making phone calls
- Sending emails
- Having face-to-face conversations
- Cross-checking references
- Clearing leaders through the clearance process
When I closed my laptop to go home at the end of the workweek, guess how many leaders I had officially onboarded?
Zero! That’s right, so far, all of my work yielded exactly zero results. That’s the tricky thing about ministry.
But Jesus said, “the gates of hell won’t prevail against my church,” and this is an incredibly freeing thought! However, at the same moment, there is work that needs to be done! So, what did I do?
I went home for the weekend.
I kept my laptop closed.
I played with my boys.
I enjoyed my family.
I took in the Sabbath in its entirety.
Were all my leader holes filled? Absolutely not!!
Had I done my best to fill them? Yes, 100%.
Did I trust that God was going to take care of anything I needed? Yes.
Now don’t get it twisted; it’s taken me many years in ministry to try and strike this balance of working hard while also relying on and resting in the Holy Spirit and what he’s going to provide.
And just ask my wife last Wednesday how well I was coping with this news. But once again, God came through.
And here I sit, on the other side of my weekend, where I relaxed and took a Sabbath with my family, and do you know how many new leaders God’s provided me?
Both leaders have now been replaced. But it took me releasing the control and saying, “Father, this is your student ministry. You care more about it than I could ever imagine. Please help the right leaders to come across my path, give me the words to say.”
I didn’t spend my entire weekend focusing on it. I didn’t sacrifice Sabbath on the altar of control. Sometimes, it just takes that simple moment of releasing control and trusting that God is going to do His thing.
Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:
- Where in your life or ministry do you need to release control to God?
- How has God shown up for you in the past?
- Do you live your life and lead your ministry as if you know full well, He will be faithful to show up again in the future?
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