The Discouraging Side of Ministry

The Discouraging Side of Ministry

I love my job as the Women’s Ministry Director at my church. Just last week, I told the Lord as I crawled into bed how thankful I am for this job and how much I love going to work every day.

But to be honest, working in full-time ministry is not always a bed of roses. There are days I want to quit; days that are so disappointing and discouraging that I have shut the door to my office to have some quiet time to wipe away tears and pour out my heart to the Lord.

I had that kind of day yesterday. One of the things I’ve learned from working in full-time ministry is that I can’t please everyone. I may make someone happy by a decision I make, but someone else is not happy about it. Criticism is part of the job.

There’s a part of me that wants very much to please people. But I also know that when I get into bed at night and reflect on my decisions that day, there’s really only One person I need to please – the Lord Jesus Christ. Obeying His leading and pleasing Him is what really matters.

I can’t please everyone. And neither can any of us in our respective roles – parent, spouse, boss, co-worker, teacher, ministry worker…

My initial response to criticism is discouragement, and at times, defensiveness. But I have to go to the Lord and ask Him if their criticism is warranted. Did I please Him?

All this to say: if you’re in full-time ministry, those days of discouragement and criticism will come. It’s the nature of working with people (in any job). We need to ask in those times, Lord, did I please You?

I share Paul’s passion in 2 Corinthians 5:9: “Therefore, also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”

What has helped you handle those times of discouragement and criticism when people aren’t pleased with something you’ve done or a decision you’ve made?

 

14 Comments
  1. You have the right focus: Pleasing Him. Rest in His delight. Love you, sweet Friend!

  2. Thank you, Shirley!

  3. So true Crickett. Thanks for your transparency and the reminder of who we should be focused on pleasing! You are such a blessing to our church and have tremendously impacted so many women, including myself! Love you! Thank you for all you do!

  4. Oh Crickett, I know the feeling! And like you, I try to focus on the fact the He’s the one who knows the truth of the heart. He’s the one I need to please.

    But it’s still frustrating and hurtful at times. Praying for a joy-filled work day today!

  5. Dear friend! Thank you for pulling back the curtain of your heart! We have all been there! I know I have! It is not easy focusing on an Audience of One and pleasing Him only BUT that is our goal and He knows our hearts! There is an enemy discourager BUT there is our Great Encourager, the Holy Spirit that is there to deflect those darts of discouragement! May He wash over you with His loving kindness, grace and mercy! This song popped in my mind: “Your love never fails, it never gives up on me!” I will forward to you so you can listen today! Love you, Dianne

  6. Thanks, Dianne! I know you understand. And I love that song! Thank you, sweet friend!

  7. The more you are involved in the workings of a church the more you see our fallen condition and why we need a Saviour. You have to take criticism,listen to it and then shake it off. It is usually not helpful nor edifying. Keep on keeping on. You are doing a great job. I cannot imagine First Evan without you

  8. Thanks, Brenda! I’m pressing on. And I’m so thankful to be at FEC, even on those days of criticism :). Thanks for your encouraging words.

  9. Thank you for this word,Crickett, and for your transparency! I struggle with this so much working in a situation where many people have a different idea of what I should be doing and I am too easily yanked about by these expectations. Earlier this year I was having a tough moment with that, telling the Lord that I didn’t know what to do and He reminded me that I DID already know what to do – He had shown me very clearly through His Word and through prayer, but I was second guessing it because of outside pressures. It’s an ongoing fight, but like Lucy in “Prince Caspian” I am freed from all those other pressures when I focus on “Aslan.”

    Thank you for your service and perseverance on the tough days!

  10. Laura, thanks. I know you understand and have been in similar situations. Praying for you as you lead the ministry there. Praying we both keep our eyes on the Lord.

  11. Thanks for the encouragement!

  12. Thanks, Vickie!

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