3 Reminders To Get You Through A Difficult Season Of Ministry
By: Vanderbloemen November 6, 2017
Have you ever watched a large-scale triathlon up close? It’s pretty remarkable. All the organization and teamwork that takes place to pull an event like that off is impressive. I’m fortunate enough to live in a city that hosts a full distance Ironman, which is 140.6 grueling miles.
Every year, my family and I make it a point to cheer on those that have committed to crossing the finish line. Most of these athletes have been training for well over a year to get to that point. They’ve likely juggled family and career responsibilities and battled through injuries and long, difficult rides or runs. Hours upon hours of pushing themselves to stay the course. I can’t help but be reminded of Philippians 3 where Paul says, “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
There are so many parallels to our journey in ministry. As I meet with candidates from across the country and hear some of their trials and struggles, I can’t help but encourage them with some of these tips. If you’re struggling with jumping out of your role or out of ministry altogether, perhaps these reminders will help you stay the course.
1. This is only a season.
When you’re in the midst of a struggle, it always seems to take forever, doesn’t it? Yet this moment is only a small “blip” on the journey of life. I’d often remind myself when things were hurting the most during a race that “This pain is temporary, it will pass.”
Perhaps you need to remind yourself that the problem you’re dealing with will soon be history. If it’s a 2-week problem, a 2-month problem or a 12-month problem, know that it will pass. Once you walk through the fire and look back from the finish line, you’ll be glad you didn’t quit prematurely. Stay the course!
2. Choose to find the positive.
Often (in reference to triathlons), people will say to me “I could never do something like that!” My first response is always, “Then you’re exactly right!” No matter if it’s ministry or a triathlon, going the distance starts with the right state of mind. If you’ve given up in your mind, then it’s only a matter of time before you actually give up.
You may be surrounded by difficult people and trying circumstances, but God has a plan and there are people relying on your steady leadership. Stay positive through it all and stay focused on the task God has called you to. He’s refining you in the process and building the Kingdom at the same time.
3. Set small goals.
When I was training for races, I clearly recall days that everything in me wanted to give up. There were so many times I’d want to quit before my time was fully done. It was all I could do to keep going, so I’d create small goals along the way. In the same way, set some small, attainable goals that can stretch you as a church leader and as a follower of God.
There are always going to be areas that you don’t like (in any role), but try your hardest to weather the storm. Of course, it’s easy to write an overarching blog about staying the course when it’s clear that every circumstance is different. However, I am confident that if God brought you there, He will bring you through it.
Stay the course, pray for change, and know that in time, things will turn around (or He will move you out). Don’t give up for something nominal or petty, like insecurities or personality conflicts. Your calling is way too valuable….finish the race!
What are some encouraging words that have helped you in a difficult season of ministry?