Ministry, Speaking, and Consulting…… OH MY!!!
This has been my battle cry over the last few weeks as God opens door after door for Gary and I. We are moving full speed ahead into new areas but to be completely honest, it’s a little intimidating. A few weeks ago I realized there were more doors opening than we could physically walk through and we began saying “No” to requests for our help.
That’s INSANELY difficult for me! If my skills will help solve a problem, how can I not be a part of it? Well here’s the million dollar secret that I’ve learned from my personal experiences (please read ‘experiences’ as ‘crashing, burning, and publicly falling flat on my face’.)
Turning down projects is crucial to a healthy organization.
None of your business dreams can come true if people don’t want to work with you. If you agree to every collaboration, project, job, or event that comes your way you will personally crash and burn and there’s a really good chance you will take your organization with you. If you are like me and have trouble saying no, this post is going to make you sick to your stomach. But here’s the truth God wants you to hear.
You need to get into a position where you can turn down opportunities, even good ones.
If your once healthy business or ministry has nothing to say “No” to then you’re in big trouble. There’s a really good chance you have overcommitted yourself and are a sinking ship. If you don’t have enough resources to handle your workload then you are probably spending a ton of time thinking, “How can I get more done?” Perhaps you are taking work home more, staying up later, missing family activities, and multitasking yourself to death.
It has to stop. Even in ministry you HAVE to make time for the rest of your life!
Even in this season of explosive growth we have left room in our business plan to ask, “How can we be more efficient” rather than running around all day saying, “How can we get more done?” Please notice how different those questions are and how different the answers can be.
Getting more done is putting your finger in a crumbling dam and trying to hold it all together as long as possible. Everyone knows you have bitten off more than you can chew and at some point it’s all going to come crashing down. People can see it better than you because you’re hyper-focused on plugging those leaks! There’s a frantic tone to everything you do because you don’t have enough resources but somehow must do more.
Getting more done isn’t always healthy, and taking on more projects than you have resources for leads to overtaxed staff and volunteers, decreasing quality, and resentment of your mission.
Feeling burdened by your ministry does not help you encourage others. You resent the things that are not getting done, then you find yourself resenting the things keeping you from getting more done (family, worship, health issues, co-workers, date night with your spouse). If you still can’t get it all done you begin to resent your mission and question it.
If you resent your mission, how long will it be before you resent the people God sent you to serve?
How long can you resent people without resenting God? When you resent God, how hard is it to believe in Him?
Yup. I said it. Saying “Yes” to everything can actually destroy your faith.
Being more efficient means you are aware of your limited resources and looking for the best way to use them. Efficiency implies cutting waste and duplication. (Read that as, “SAYING NO” when something doesn’t fit.) It means collaborating with other ministries instead of competing with them. It requires leaders to empower team members rather than giving final approval for every detail of every project. Becoming more efficient is a powerful way to refine your organization. Refining is a necessary part of our faith, why would our ministries be any different?
So how do you turn it around? How do you move from plugging a crumbling dam to refining?
Your leadership team must create a healthy spiritually strong environment to do what God has called you to do! You have to get to a place where decisions are made with discernment and wisdom. Don’t be afraid to ask for more time to consider a project.
Here are 7 steps that will help direct your ministry into the refining process:
- Share this post with your team. Let them know you are ready to create a healthier environment and need their input.
- Connect with a Spiritual Director or faith based coach who can help you back away from the dam without drowning.
- Agree to not take on anymore projects for at least 14 days.
- Ask God what one thing He wants your team to focus on. Review your mission statement and see if they match up. If not revisit the mission of your ministry and realign it with God’s will.
- Honestly evaluate which projects you are doing because God wants you involved and which ones you are doing for other reasons. Ask, “Does this address the one thing God wants me working on?”
- Be ready to step out of any projects that God isn’t telling you to be a part of. Be honest with the project partners about the reasons and then let it go!
- Near the end of your 14 day “Yes” fast, revisit this post and determine if another 14 days is needed to get where you need to be.
Remember there are always going to be more needs than one ministry can meet but you can’t always see the ways God is working through other people. Rely on Him to send the right people into the battle with you and stay focused on what He is telling you to do!
Do you feel overwhelmed in your ministry right now? What is God telling you to let go of so you can focus on what He’s called you to do? Let me know in the comments, and if you need a source of encouragement don’t forget to join our community of faith-led women, Christian Women Who Lead!
Angela J Herrington is founder of Broken Beautiful BOLD online women’s ministry and Life and Leadership Coach for Christian Women.
In addition to operating a successful boutique social media agency, she teaches women how to recognize, cultivate, and unleash their God given leadership ability. She holds a BA from Indiana Wesleyan and a Masters in Leadership from Wesley Seminary. Her graduate research project focused on leadership development and opportunities for Gen X women in the US church.
Angela is a Lark’s Song Certified Life Coach who reaches hundreds of thousands of women in 40+ countries each month on Facebook, IG, Twitter, Pinterest and two blogs. She is Director of Communications for Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy, a women led organization dedicated to engaging, empowering, and equipping women to lead in the church.
She is the host of the soon to be launched God Sized Calling Podcast and has also been published in Hope for Women and HOPE is Now magazines.
Angela is a also wife, mom to 6, and proud resident of Marion, Indiana with her family when they’re not traveling the US in their RV.