Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ministry Starting Point: Own a Burden

Many times in ministry, getting started poses the largest challenge. Often, the search focuses on finding the right idea. A better target exists—the right person who's willing to own a burden.

Let's look at two stories that demonstrate this truth.

Story #1
A creative team brainstormed ideas to support a lesson focused on Jesus' teaching about the two greatest commandments. Specifically, to love God and love others (Matt. 22:36-40). The group decided to develop a music video. More importantly, this team included Marta.

At first, Marta liked the idea. Soon, she loved the idea. Then, she became consumed by the thought of sharing this important lesson with kids in a way they would relate to and remember.

So she offered to help write the song for the music video. And then she offered to act as the project's producer. Okay, she didn't exactly offer.

She had never produced a video before, but saw that no one else had the time to invest. When it appeared the project might not happen, she couldn't imagine doing nothing. Even though she also lacked availability—and experience—she said she'd do it. Although unsure how, she felt compelled toward action. Marta realized that she owned a burden to creatively reach children with the two greatest commandments, and that proved to be all the fuel she needed.

A burden is a problem you feel you must fix, an issue you must resolve, a wrong you must right—action you simply must take.

So God completely cleared the path in front of his faithful servant, right? Not exactly.

For the next several weeks, Marta faced obstacle after obstacle, roadblock after roadblock. Do you ever face obstacles and roadblocks in your ministry?

Face obstacles in children's ministry? Are you kidding me? That's life. Yes, too many times you put up with obstructions and force a smile while you think, or say, "Oh well, I guess this is part of being in children's ministry."

Friends, let's admit something. When we say, "Oh well, I guess this is part of being in children's ministry," we really mean: "If it weren't for the kids I would ask God to smote you where you stand right now—in the name of Jesus."

Sorry—let's go back to our story.

Leadership truth: When you own a burden, the opportunity always appears larger than the obstacles. And that happened with Marta. She couldn't get rid of the conviction she felt that kids needed to hear this message, so she learned how to produce a video, she carried heavy equipment, she worked insane hours for a brief period, and to the many people who offered criticism instead of help, she calmly responded, "Oh well, I guess this is part of being in children's ministry."

Eventually, her hard work paid off with a music video that combines creativity and content, substance and style, in a manner that makes God's truth memorable to young and old alike. To watch this video, click here.

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Reminded of what Huaqiang exhorted me: if you see a need, don't just sit there and complain... do something about it! :)

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