Mrs. Jennifer Clark is our guest blogger today. Jen serves as the Children’s Ministry Director at Mountainview United Methodist Church located in Marietta, Georgia.
While recently attending the Children’s Pastor’s Conference, I kept hearing this statistic: “The average time for a Director of KidMin to stay in the job is 18 months.” Yikes. That’s not very long. You can’t even get the supply closet organized in 18 months.
But it’s also not surprising, is it? I mean, it only takes about a week on the job to discover how hard it can be. The kid part tends to be the fun, rewarding part, but the behind-the-scenes stuff – wrangling volunteers, maintaining rosters, bargaining for facility space – those are things that can break you in a hurry.
I’m at the beginning of my 25th month on the job. And to be honest, I’ve thought about quitting at least a hundred times. Flooded classrooms, double-booked Fellowship Halls, keys that didn’t work, adults arguing… My husband will testify to the tearful conversations that typically end with me saying, “This is so HARD. I want to quit.”
So what’s keeping me from quitting? Some days, it’s just sheer laziness – it would take too long to write a resignation letter. But more often, my merciful Father reminds me of the tools that He gave me along with this amazing, challenging call. And the good news – He’s given you these tools too.
A Direct Help Line
There is no more powerful tool than calling out to God directly during an hour or season of discouragement. Jesus says to come to Him when we are worn out and overwhelmed, and He will help. (Matthew 11:28)
These are a few of the verses I treasure in my heart and pull out during the dark hours of discouragement:
2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This verse reminds me that I don’t have to have it all together, and the best thing is to stand down so Jesus can stand in.
Psalm 30:5 Weeping may remain for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Don’t things always seem a little better after some sleep and that first cup of coffee (or tea)? Sometimes, literally, God says, “Go to bed”.
John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble.” I know on the surface scripture about life’s difficulties may not seem encouraging, but isn’t there some comfort in knowing that this isn’t supposed to be easy? When things get hard, perhaps that means we’re on the right track!
A Community of Support
God doesn’t expect us to do this by ourselves. He provides people to encourage us, whether it be through a mentor’s wise counsel, a volunteer’s enthusiasm or a child’s hug. We all have access to an extraordinary collection of KidMin champions through the North Georgia United Methodist Church’s Children’s Ministry Network, whose collective experiences and wisdom are available for the asking.
A Clear Goal
God has called us into Children’s Ministry to make Jesus-disciples. Staying focused on our purpose acts like a filter, allowing us to tune in to the clear frequency of God’s call, and tune out the static of distractions that lead to discouragement and a longing to give up.
Sometimes, in seasons of discouragement, I am lulled into the deceptive thinking that quitting will make things better. But then the Lord provides – a verse of encouragement, a nudge to call on His name, a hug from a child. And that’s sufficient to sustain me for the day.
I’d love to know – what tools sustain you through seasons of discouragement?
If you’d like to connect with Jen Clark, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
Marcia S Wright said:
Great advice for us in any area of church ministry, none of which is easy, but there lies the satisfaction when we persevere, like Jen and so many other KidMin leaders. These Scriptures are the ones which can uphold and encourage us in any walk of service. Thanks for the good words!
DeDe Bull Reilly said:
Thank you for your understanding words, Marcia. Perseverance is key and we are indeed better together. ~ DeDe