Children’s ministry is a work of love but there are times when your feelings can get the best of you. It’s not unusual for a pastor or volunteer to feel lonely, unappreciated and forgotten; we aren’t robots. During these seasons, some leaders consider quitting or at the very least, they lose their passion for ministry. If you’ve ever felt this way, don’t feel ashamed; it happens to many of us — even me! If you’ve made a commitment to ministry but you’re too miserable to enjoy it, get off the hamster wheel of guilt and condemnation by rekindling your ministry passion.
Head to the prayer closet. Before you write off this suggestion, give it a try. I know as a children’s minister you feel like you are constantly in prayer but how much of it is for yourself? We often pray for everyone else but rarely ourselves. Carve out some time for the prayer closet. Get comfortable and prepare to spend time in God’s presence. Turn off the phone and clear your calendar first.
Allow God to shuffle the furniture around. I tell my kids that when God gives you a heart check, it feels like He’s moving the furniture around in your heart. We adults need these heart checks frequently but we forget to ask sometimes. What’s hiding in your heart? Could bitterness, unforgiveness or a secret sin be hiding out there? If so, it can quench the flow of the Spirit and leave you feeling lonely. Ask God, with your mouth, to move the furniture around and speak to you, about you. Prepare to hear and obey God if He puts His finger on an area of your heart.
Check your motives. I’m an A to Z kind of gal. I like practicality but I love the freedom of Spirit-led ministry. Sometimes though, I become so focused on my goals, I take my eyes off Jesus. When that happens, the purity of my motives, (to love and serve him) can become corrupted. Like Martha, I’ll worry too much about the work schedule instead of enjoying some Mary time. Are you doing that? It happens a lot — always unintentionally.
Reconnect with adults. If you’re feeling lonely, you might need adult companionship. I’ll be transparent here, I have to force myself into the grown up world sometimes; however, it’s important to befriend people outside of your ministry circle. I love the parents of my kids but I have a mandate to minister to them. Connect people you trust, spend time with them. They will refresh you.
Lighten your load. When the work feels too heavy, I remind myself that Jesus promised me a light load. Sometimes, you have to take a mental inventory. Are you doing too much? Cut out or delegate the unnecessary tasks like doling out the candy or vacuuming the kids church every week.
Share how you feel with someone that cares. Resist the temptation to isolate. God can and will rekindle your passion and lead you into a fulfilling season of ministry.