One of the greatest resources for ministry that someone once gave me was a simple piece of advice. “Begin” they said.
Beginning is where most people fail. Not because they began wrong, but because they failed to begin at all. As a 22 year old who was less than 3 months married, I decided to take on the lead role in youth ministry at my church. Mind you, this was a youth ministry that had been extremely successful and then dwindled in its previous 2 years. One where everyone was expecting a similar kind of result. No easy task. The decision wasn’t easy to make, and I spent much time in prayer. There was a specific moment, as there often is in consistent prayer, where clarity came. I remember praying “Lord I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m scared of failing you, of shaming your name and letting you down.” I remember as kept praying I began to think of my situation and what it would look like if God was calling me to serve in this capacity. Honestly, started to become extremely frustrated. “But God, I’m not prepared.” I thought as I readied my list of disqualifications. “I don’t have a mentor, I don’t have proper training, I don’t even have experience on this level. How could I possibly do this job? I know you don’t want to set me up for failure – or is that the lesson?” I sincerely cried out, tempted to resign a process I didn’t even begin. And in the awesome subtle wisdom of God, He simply replied “then what do you have?” “Well” I thought… “I have you.” I remember my eyebrows were now high on my forehead as revelation struck me. “That’s where I’ve always wanted you.” God replied. And so… I began.
So often we wait for the right training, the right preparation, the right situation, the right people, when Jesus is simply saying to begin. Begin in spite of those things. Begin with a complete reliance on Jesus – and remain that way. Do you realize that if Jesus is calling you to begin something, He’s calling you to begin knowing full well your shortcomings, your lack of equipping, training, people, etc.? He knows what’s in front of you, how impossible it may look sometimes, He knows what’s behind you and how unqualified you may feel. And yet knowing all of this, He still calls you to begin. Begin with God, and walk with Him through.
One day you’ll have everything you wish you had now. I look at our youth ministry, and we have the stuff I wished for then, a staff of 16 highly experienced individuals who are trained, mentored and discipled. We’ve equipped others that have moved to varying cities and have planted ministries there. God’s helped us become fully self-funded and have the support of leadership to do what God gives us vision for. Everything’s great right? With all this stuff of course we’ll succeed.. Right? This is where the realization came full circle for us. We relied only on Jesus to get us here, now that we have the chance to rely on our abilities and talents, we realize they were never important from the get go. All that matters today, is all that mattered then. He’s the foundation of our “Yes’s” We’re launching new programs that are honestly scary and beyond our capabilities at times. “You want us to go Lord? Ok. We’ll begin.”