Ministry can be difficult, especially in this season of coronavirus and virtual church. In this video, Director of Operations for Lifeway Kids, Chuck Peters, explains how obstacles are nothing new to ministry and if anything, we should expect hard times. Ministry is a battlefield, not a playground.
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
We need to stop being surprised when we experience difficulty in our ministries. It’s like we assume that if our ministry’s going well that we won’t have any backaches or headaches or heartaches. That’s not a realistic, biblical view of ministry. In fact, we should expect the exact opposite.
The biggest problem that we have to deal with are our own expectations. See, for every situation we bring in expectation. And that situation can only do one of three things when we’re confronted with it. The actual situation will either exceed our expectations (it’ll be better), it’ll meet our expectations (be exactly what we thought it would be), or it’ll fall short of our expectations.
And many times that situation doesn’t change, but many times, the problem is our expectation is in the wrong place. When it comes to difficulty in ministry this is a very real thing that we need to deal with.
1 Peter 4:12 says, “We shouldn’t be surprised when a fiery ordeal comes among us to test us, as if something unusual were happening.” And yet, we feel when those fiery ordeals come that they shouldn’t be happening to us if we’re doing the right things.
James 1:2 tells us to “consider it great joy, brothers and sisters, when, when you experience various trials.” Not if. When. We should expect difficulty in ministry, especially when things are going well.
Ministry to kids and students can be fun, but it’s not a game. Ministry’s a battlefield, not a playground. It can be easy for us to lose sight of that because we set our expectations on the fun and we miss the reality of the spiritual war that’s going on all around us.
THE SIX D’S
We have an enemy who hates kids, who doesn’t want them to know Jesus. We’re on the frontlines of a battlefield and souls are at stake. Satan does not want kids to know Jesus and to experience God’s forgiveness for their sin, and he will deploy attacks to keep kids from Christ.
I have six D’s that can help you see some of the strategies that Satan often uses against us as he tries to squelch the effectiveness of our ministries. Here’s some things he’ll try to do:
He’ll try to DISTRACT. Have you dealt with distraction? Yeah, it’s all around us, right? Whether it’s a kid that’s acting out or something going on in our life that pulls us out of the moment. It could be your phone that pulls you away from that intentional interaction in the moment of ministry. Distraction.
DISRUPTION. Talking about that kid acting out. Why does it seem that when you’re ready to share the gospel or you’re nailing home the point that you need these kids to take away that somebody acts out or somebody acts up? Disruption is a strategy of the enemy.
DISCOURAGEMENT. So many of us battle with our own value. We get discouraged when we don’t see results that we feel like we should see. We doubt our ability, we doubt our calling, and we question whether we have any business being in ministry at all. Discouragement is an attack from the enemy.
DIVISION. How many times have we seen in the church two families or two people who have worked side-by-side in unity to have some small, little thing cause a rift between them that divides these families, that divides our teams, and that fractures a church and a ministry? Division is a strategy of our enemy.
DISCREDITATION. Satan seeks to discredit people who are in ministry. And so we need to be very careful, guys, to be above reproach in everything that we do. We need to have the highest standards for our own behavior, for our own morality, for the decisions we make, for the way we live our lives. We need to live our lives in such a way that people see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. And Satan wants to discredit us by the things that happen in our lives.
Ultimately, he wants to DESTROY. He wants to tear down anything he can and he will seek to destroy you, to destroy families, to destroy the lives of kids, to destroy your church.
We need to be aware that these D’s are things that Satan uses against us. We need to remember that we know who wins the war, but we still have to fight the battle.
So don’t be surprised when you face obstacles in your ministry. Don’t be shaken when these things happen. Don’t lose heart when hard things come. Instead, we need take advice to put on the full armor of God. As kids and student leaders, we understand this whole session of the armor of God. We can all talk about the different components, but it means so much to us as leaders of ministry because we are often the ones who take the hits on the battle lines. So put on the armor of God yourself so that you can stand firm when attacks inevitably come.
Gear up, get ready. This is a battlefield, not a playground.