Ever felt inadequate for the ministry? From comparison with other student ministries, time management/family, resources, being equipped for the task at hand and so on…I think this is one of those things not spoken of, but everyone faces it sooner or later.
Going through deep valleys of self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy in ministry is familiar territory for me. I can tell you right now it’s a real battle I face. It comes and goes, but it is always lingering. Whether overseeing High School campus ministry or serving in a small rural church and even now in my current setting of a large student ministry, inadequacy has always been a part of the battle. Thoughts like, “God made a mistake and called the wrong person for the job” or “you made a mistake in thinking he called you.” I’d like to share some of what I have learned in hopes that you might be able to glean from it and be helped.
Acknowledging your inadequacy can drive you to a greater reliance on God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to power your ministry.
When the best you got just doesn’t seem to be enough, is when we can find the biblical truth of being weak in ourselves and being made strong through God. Trusting so much in our own abilities, training, and tactics that we barely have room for God’s help will not only lead to feelings of inadequacy but ultimately a failure, in true Kingdom work.
In the long view of ministry, the goal is not just to start well, but to finish well (2 Tim. 4:7). Any part of our ministry can’t be considered a microcosm. We can’t grade ourselves on one Wednesday night or a camp! If you look at David, Peter, Moses, Mark, and Joseph, just to name a few, we see a group of guys, who, at one point or another, either by their own doing or not, were total failures. None of these men had a resume that screamed success! Look back at where you started. Are you better today than you were a year ago? Keep your eye on the finish line, keep the long view!
Comparison is a silent killer. Not in a literal sense, but in the anxiety-inducing, ministry-ruining, jealousy-causing sense. God didn’t call you to the ministry to be copycats of one another. He called us to minister in the unique way only we can. Among all the people in ministry, no one else is YOU. How cool is that? God chose you to be right where you are. Trust His sovereignty, not your inadequacy!
We all suck! So if you are feeling inadequate, I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is, you are right. You are inadequate. The good news is, you don’t have to be adequate! You just have to be faithful! May all of our inadequacy bring us to a posture of surrender on our knees before our perfectly adequate Savior. We might feel inadequate, but God has a plan and a purpose for us that is so much bigger than our weaknesses.
“Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:27