I absolutely love my job...I really do. I not only have the joy of serving at one of the great churches in America with the most incredible staff you could ever hope for, I’m privileged to work at the largest Christian university in the world where daily I help shape the next generation of worship leaders and world changers. How cool is that! But even still, I have bad days just like you. There are those Mondays when I wake up thinking, “Perhaps I should dust off the old resume.” Now be honest, so do you. But what keeps one from acting upon these temporary frustrations or feelings of ministry fatigue? Here are a few tips that keep me going:
Commitment to Your Calling – There is no doubt in my mind that God’s calling upon my life is to serve His church through worship and music ministry. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Our commitment to that calling must be stronger than any bump in the road or ministry adversity. Take “throwing in the towel” out of the equation. Satan would love for you to quit. Don’t do it. This is God’s calling upon your life. You are His choice servant. Be committed to the call!
Connection with Your Congregation – Like it or not, ministry IS people. Yes, there are days when that seems to be the most frustrating part of the job, but on the flip side, it can be the most rewarding. I wouldn’t take anything for the relationships I’ve made over the years with members of the choir, orchestra, and congregation who deeply appreciate what we do. Recalling spiritual victories, answered prayers, and shared heartaches stirs in me a sense of accountability to these people. If we take time to invest in those we serve, our affection for them and patience with them will increase. In return, our stock goes way up with them and we become a more valued part of the team.
Contentment in Your Circumstance – I know a lot of people who are now working at a church they otherwise wouldn’t attend. Their appreciation of the opportunity far too often takes a back seat to dissatisfaction and disgust over unmet expectations and preferences. That can be miserable...for EVERYONE! We can’t allow these things to consume our focus. Musicians and pastors alike are notorious for playing the comparison game…always looking at what “they” are doing “over there.” We do this, not just to get great ideas, but many times to simply feel better about ourselves or to help shape the profile of what “we” wish our church to look like. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a believer in progressive thinking, innovation, creativity, and pursuing necessary change, but I suggest we proceed with caution and consideration. In most cases, the grass really isn’t that much greener on the other side, so serve where you’ve been planted, and do it faithfully!
Confession & Consecration – Scripture clearly describes Satan as the evil one who prowls about, searching for those he can devour. I believe pastors and worship leaders are among his favorite targets. But what I find interesting is that the battle is often times fought in the mind. He has a way of getting into our head, penetrating our thoughts and planting seeds of discouragement and discontentment. And before you know it, all we can see is what’s going wrong. Our focus on the mission is blurred by feelings of frustration. Be careful. Satan has you where he wants you. I suggest you do what Jesus did when Satan launched a full-out attack on His mind...go to the Scriptures. In those desert seasons of ministry when I just don’t have a song and I feel like quitting, I often look to the Psalms for a good old “mind cleansing.” David’s honest plea in Psalm 13 has been the cry of my heart many times… “Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes…” David admits that he’s wasted. He’s about ready to give up. He’s lost that “sparkle” in his eyes. But his confession and honesty leads to rejoicing in verses 5-6…”But I trust in Your unfailing love. I will rejoice because You have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me.” Confessing our dependence upon the Lord and letting go of our pride and preferences will lead to surrender and a rededication of our service to Him. The great hymn writer, Fanny Crosby, said it best when she wrote:
Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord
By the power of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.
Dr. Jerry Falwell often said, “You measure the greatness of a man by how much it takes to discourage him.” Remember that next Monday morning and keep the resume in the drawer. KEEP CALM and CARRY ON!