Dec 6, 2013

Waiting Patiently to Grow

A reflection from this summer.

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).
At the end of the prayer time, the young minister who had sat next to me, told me that his group had been convicted this year by not having a homeless ministry. And he now plans to work with me to staff our Tuesday Bible study, including the co-leaders, scheduling and helpers!

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. 

Note: we have been successful with starting our Bible study.