I really wanted to get out of it. I mean, I REALLY wanted to get out of it. I started thinking of anyone else that could do it. My brother? My friends in children’s ministry? Surely someone else would do a better job. I started typing out a message on Facebook ‘John, you know how you said you would be a contributor on the MinistryArk blog…we need someone to write the first blog post. I just don’t feel that confident right now…. ” I stopped. I wanted someone to write a blog post on how to deal with feeling inadequate in children’s ministry. I didn’t realize that the best person to write it would be me. I was the one feeling inadequate.
Having moved on from my last ministry position I am now waiting for God to move me into my next phase. It’s easy in these moments to feel inadequate for the task ahead. What if I’m not good enough? What if I make a mess of it? What if I fail? In those times I try to remember what I have learned over the years…
1. Take everything to God.
Okay, so it sounds generic. Yet our value, worth and significance shouldn’t come from our work or ministry, it should be rooted in Christ. I say shouldn’t, but let’s be honest, it often does. We can all slowly and unwittingly be led astray by the false idea that we are important because we are involved in church ministry. It is easy to put our worth in the numbers, the events and even the transformations that we see. Yet God calls us to seek after him. Then and only then will we realize our worth. Then and only then will we realize that none of us measure up against a perfect God. And that’s how it should be. Let’s never forget to be in awe of how great and majestic our God truly is; how vast and how great are his grace and his love.
2. Realize that ‘Success’ is Subjective
What is ‘success’ in our children’s ministry? Is it an expensive facility? Big numbers of children? Our own kids ministry resources or CD? I suppose we will all secretly have our own ideas. My brother in law’s father faithfully served God in his little town in the Philippines for his whole life. To my knowledge he never left that area. I never had the privilege of meeting him, yet I will forever be impacted by his story. He was faithful to Jesus where he was placed, living generously and openly with his faith and life, even though he had very little to call his own. Was he less ‘successful’ because he failed to reach thousands for Christ? I don’t think so. His success was his obedience to Christ (Joshua 1:8) and in the end, that’s the only kind that matters.
5. Stop Comparing yourself to others
When we compare ourselves to others we are robbed of enjoying the little successes in our own lives and ministries (2 Corinthians 10:12). Why? Because we’ll constantly be coming up short. There’s always someone doing bigger and better things. The moment I stop comparing my single, living with parents, part time job situation to my married with kids, working mothers – or married and ministering to many – friends I feel a sense of freedom. That’s because I was made to be the best me, not a copy or correction of someone else. Start thanking God for where you’re at and you will begin to feel that nagging sense of inadequacy drain away.
6. Forgive negative words and speak words of faith
“You? A Children’s Pastor?”
“You’re just not that … creative … organized … good with kids.”
“How can you minister to kids when you don’t have any of your own?!”
For some of us, much of our feelings of inadequacy come from negative words that have been spoken over us. Without realizing it we’ve welcomed them in and they’ve become a part of us. We need to forgive those that have spoken out against us and pray that their words will have no power. When we are reminded of those words, instead of regurgitating them we need to start speaking out words of faith. “I’m just not that confident” “Nobody wants to listen to me” “I suppose I could try…” Imagine if these words had come out of David’s mouth just before he slay Goliath?! David didn’t allow his father or brothers to make him feel small. He stood on the words of God and the actions of Samuel, anointing him as the next king. Start standing on the words that God has spoken over you and maybe when you do, others will follow!
7. Start Learning and Never Stop
It’s true that the Holy Spirit is our teacher. Yet the Holy Spirit has taught many through the generations, and we can learn from that wisdom. Read books, listen to podcasts, discuss with others – especially those that are further along the road than you. Find a mentor, or two. As we learn and grow each day we have more to give away. A great friend and mentor taught me that. The more we learn – especially of God’s Word – the better equipped we are to serve wherever he leads us. And finally…
8. Realize that feelings aren’t everything…
The truth of the matter is, sometimes we may feel inadequate. Nonetheless, Christ has said that his grace is sufficient for us. If you’re feelings are getting on top of you then tell someone, get some prayer or get counseling. Don’t go at it alone, but remember that your feelings aren’t everything. Christ is. He alone can fill those feelings of inadequacy because he is enough. He is El Shaddai; the All Sufficient God. His grace covers all our inadequacies. And if we feel that he isn’t enough, perhaps that is our problem… we will never feel good enough until we recognize that we are not. Yet we serve the only One who is.