Last August I was convicted, by a couple of things, that I needed to stop doing ministry alone. First, in a couple of events, I had to give my attention to keeping order and protecting our partner's building and room; rather than on the needs of a client in trouble.
I balanced my duties as best I could, but my client suffered; in that I couldn't give them the best that I could. Then I listened to several sermons on the Global Leadership Summit on sharing ministry load. The sermons were so compelling that I went home a broken spirit. I was failing to share the load and the ministry was suffering as a result. Fortunately, God pumped me up again, for the second day of the GLS and the message was very encouraging. So, I committed.
Right after that, we lost two rooms for our planned indoor events. Remodeling, or simply the message, "it would be better if you met somewhere else", were the reasons. I tried to find solutions before shutting down the events, but I failed. I talked with every church partner we have and many new ones. After three weeks, I was nowhere. So, we shut down our events and began to wait. In fact, I went away on a retreat to Guatemala.
When I returned from the retreat in Guatemala, God had been working on the problem, because we now have offers to use at least 5 rooms in the week. Awesome, or so I thought. However, there were no established volunteers at any of the new times. How hard could it be, I asked myself.
I started calling, emailing, and messaging. I committed to finding about 12 helpers for each of the time slots, one for scheduling, and two as co-facilitators to step in on occasion. After several weeks, I was pretty frustrated. I literally have added one available name to the list for the first event I wanted to start; our Bible study on Tuesday from 11am to 1pm.
I was tempted to cheat. And God really is sending messages about how many people want our Bible study to start. I got asked every day by clients if I've found a place yet. In an alleyway, a young kid called me over to confess his fear of addiction, even as he experiments with hard drugs. Faith isn't a resource for him, but he told me he would come to a Bible study if I held one. The same day, in that same alley, a young man spoke to me a memorized Islamic prayer and asked me if I would teach him about Christianity. My heart was breaking that we didn't have our Bible study. I was so tempted to cheat. But that would be cheating our clients. They deserve me and a couple of helpers; so that everyone would get the attention they need.
I awoke Wednesday morning realizing that I needed to switch my prayer meeting with other ministry leaders; to that morning. I hurried to get there. The topic that day was praise and thanks.
I offered my thanks:
- for the many locations we had,
- for the clients who want to study the Bible,
- and for the reason that God had already solved our volunteer problems (even if I was frustrated by waiting).
So, I patiently and expectantly wait. In faith. And with great expectation of what it may be like.
We will open:
- a Wednesday Bible study 2pm to 3:30pm,
- a Thursday clothing closet 2pm to 4pm,
- a Friday job club 11am to 1pm and perhaps even more.
God IS good. And the right answers are worth waiting for.