Life is a fight, and it's a fight to stay alive. Children's ministry is no different. There are times of abundance and times of scarcity. Either abundance or scarcity can become two great powers pulling attention away from the true power of the gospel (c.f. Romans 1:16). We can let abundance or scarcity change us, or we can allow the gospel to transform us from the inside out, building a character of steadfastness and immovability "in the work of the Lord" (c.f. 1 Corinthians 15:58). The New Year of 2014, whether filled with abundance or scarcity, is a time and place to be resolved in the gospel.
Paul writes to the Corinthian church, "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58). Scarcity or abundance can become stumbling blocks to the continuous "work of the Lord" instead of times of life that God advances the gospel to build his church, influencing the next generation – our children. Here are some personal reflections from over the years as well as from history and scripture to maintain a gospel-centered focus for ministry.
In times of Scarcity
- Learn to consolidate resources, time, and people.
- Double down on simplicity and clarity.
- Plan generosity with foresight and strategy.
- Let the stuff of an "organization" struggle, not the people.
- Learn, not complain, about scarcity (before, during, and after).
- Set goals and strategies to gain the right abundance of resources.
- Grieve loss with a perspective of our great gain in the gospel.
- Let scarcity reset values from ministry looks to character of godliness, humility, conviction, love, etc.
- Doing the work of the Lord doesn't mean going faster and harder. Rather, it's allowing the Lord to work through us.
- Fight depression and discouragement with God's word, in community, as a listener, and by prayer.
In times of Abundance
- Learn that abundance equates more responsibility.
- Avoid crumbling under the new weight of responsibility and share responsibility as growth occurrs.
- Grow confident in the right things and learn to fight confidence in self (skills, charisma, success, etc).
- Learn that there is no adjective to the "gospel" such as poverty or prosperity gospel.
- Learn that God uses abundance to prepare for scarcity, so, prepare.
- Celebrate abundance but don't idolize it.
- The heart of generosity doesn't change, just the amount of time, money, and so on.
- Know that people see what made you happy during abundance, and was it the gospel? Seeing people transformed by God's word? Or because there is new paint and designs on walls.
- Learn to lead people away from becoming greedy in time's of abundance.
- Place more value on character of people not the ability to make the characteristic of ministry stuff look new and different.
Be Resolved in the gospel as that will make a Happy New Year – 2014!