Have you ever heard the saying, “Many hands make light work?” This phrase was never more clung to then in our first ministry. We were young and right out of college; Eager to jump into whatever work God had for us in our new church ministry. We were newly married and excited to start working together for the Lord’s work. Right out of college we went into an older ministry where the comments were many but the workers were few.
Before we knew what had happened, my husband was preaching, teaching, doing youth group, planning winter camps, orchestrating VBS and running it (literally, it felt like he was running every position), attending board meetings, and mentoring some college students. While we felt validated and useful, we felt exhausted and confused with why we didn’t learn about this kind of ministry in school.
Maybe you’re just entering ministry and you are also wondering if your situation is normal. Possibly you’ve been asked to fill a position, lead a class, or teach a Bible Study that you just are not thrilled to do. Here are a few helpful suggestions on how to handle it:
- Be aware of your strengths and what you are naturally wired to do. Doing something you are not gifted to do can feel like boring work.
- Ask the Lord for discernment in how to decide whether an opportunity is right for you.
- Do not agree to take on a task because “there is no one else to do it”. This is a dangerous situation for bitterness and resentment to set in.
- With your husband, pray and brainstorm about how a job can get done without you being the one to take it on.
- Consider filling a position temporarily. At the end of those times, ask yourself, “Did 5 minutes feel like 5 hours? Or could I have done it for 5 hours and it would have felt like 5 minutes?” Obviously, if it was a job that went by quickly and easily, you might be a good fit to meet that need long term. If you were checking the clock every 5-10 minutes to see if your time was up, you know it’s probably not a good ministry match.
You may feel like your life is a constant balancing act. In truth, it is! With all that you juggle, it’s a good habit to check in on your commitments and make sure you’re not agreeing to meet needs or fill positions because there is no one else to do it.
What are other ways you can “respectfully decline” when people ask you to fill a position or a job that you’re just not able to commit to?
Share you answers below.