Missing That Half Mile of Ministry: Overcoming Disappointment

There’s a month until the half marathon (I’m running in the Baltimore Running Festival) and I’ve been bad about doing long runs.  So yesterday I set out to a 8 miles at a 8 min/mile pace.  It was a beautiful morning the sun was shining the temperature was perfect and I couldn’t have felt more joy.  As I got back to my house and checked my time I noticed that I had run a lot faster than anticipated, and I mean a lot faster.  A little suspicious I reviewed the course and noticed that I had not run 8 miles but 7.5 instead.  Now some of you are probably thinking, “What’s the big deal, short by 1/2 a mile?”  And it shouldn’t be a big deal but all of a sudden a feeling of, “I didn’t do what I set out to do?” passed through my body.  It’s that feeling of disappointment of when things don’t go according to plan.  And a feeling like that can sometimes escalate into a feeling of failure.  I think many of us youth workers have had a similar feeling, let me explain.

There have been many times where I’ve gotten back from a retreat, done a night of ministry on top of the world, thinking “Nothing can stop us.” Only later to receive a phone call, or feedback, that things didn’t go according to plan.  Maybe it’s a parent who is upset with their child’s experience, or a teenager who tells you they were bored or a minister informing you that last night could have been better.  It’s frustrating because it’s a downer, because your perspective has changed suddenly.  In student ministry this small uncomfortable feeling can derail a youth minister, it can change a great night of ministry into another disappointment.  We need to combat that, but how?
Look At The Wins
It’s kind of like looking for the silver lining, looking at the glass half full, seeing the sunny side of things…I think you get it.  It’s important for us as ministers to know that no night is going to go perfect, unless God is in total control; however, that should not prevent us from seeing how He pours His blessings on us over and over again.  So we need to celebrate the wins.  Meaning, looking at the good things that happened in your ministry.  Here are a couple of questions to help with that:

  1. Where did you see your vision fulfilled?
  2. Where did you see a student or minister step up?
  3. What is now effortless that once was toilsome?

Ask yourself those questions and then share your wins with ministers, send them thank you notes for doing what God has asked them to do.  When you can dod this you can overcome the disappointment of when things don’t go according to plan.
Start sharing your wins here, how did you see victory in your ministry this weekend?