It was only recently that I started noticing the trends of young people’s indifference to, frustration with, and abandonment of the church. As I paid more attention to why my friends felt the way they did about church, I realized that a major aspect for them was involvement.
As I settled into my chair for our opening evening of welcome and worship, I reveled in having nothing to prepare, nothing to lead, nothing I had to be “on” for. I could smile at each woman entering, or bow my head in preparation, just breathe, rest, and listen to God. Each and every year I attend, I find that I am renewed, uplifted, and refreshed.
He expects us to understand that lives are at stake – eternal lives. He expects us not to look around for someone else to do it or to stand about complaining about our assignment. Instead, He has equipped us to utilize every person He welcomes into the family and the supplies He’s provided to deliver a “square” gospel into the “round hole” of the times in which we minister.
The word refresh means “to give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate.” With technology we refresh our devices – we restore their settings and clean out clutter so they function better. We need to refresh and restore our souls so we function better. Everyone around me is looking forward to having vacations or family reunions, but now that we are freer to enjoy life “as we think it should be,” how will you refresh your soul?
Knowing the by design ministries’ mission “to develop women who are servant leaders for the equipping of God’s church and the enlarging of His Kingdom” was freeing, as I wasn’t being recruited for something new but being fed, encouraged, and equipped to go back to my home church and serve where God had called me.
In a quick Google search, you can easily find multiple studies that speak of the loneliness and isolation that can come along with being in ministry leadership. Leaders are often overextended, lacking in support staff, and so focused on serving others that they can forget to actually jump into the communities they are bringing together. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I know that, for myself, the first things to go when I am stressed or busy are spending time with God and quality fellowship with others.
In my skewed thinking, however, I put most of my energy first into ministry and expected my closest loved ones to understand and be satisfied with my “leftovers.” As tension mounted, I absurdly prayed that the Holy Spirit would reduce the amount of “need” my loved ones had for me in order to match the amount of “free time” I had available for them. Never underestimate the evil of over commitment!