Let’s play out a scenario here… You’ve just finished an event at your church for the kids. It was a HUGE success! Tons of children came (the most you have had yet). You brought in new families to the church through this event. You had donations given to you so that you could run this event. Everyone is saying what a great job you did. The pastor makes you stand up in front of everyone while they applaud you. “Great job to our Children’s Minister! What an awesome job they did for the church!” Everyone rises to their feet and gives praise to you for a job well done. And you love it! You love the attention. You love that people are giving you credit for all the hard work you did. You deserve it for sure. It took a lot to make this event happen, too. Thankfully they recognize that and are giving me praise!
What is wrong with this picture? Some of you may say nothing. It’s okay to be recognized. And you are right. There is nothing wrong with being recognized. The problem comes when we are taking the credit for what God has done. The problem is when our hearts are in it for the wrong reasons. The problem is when we do an event for selfish reasons and not for what God wants us to do. The problem is when we boast of what we have done. It is NOT right to take credit when all the glory needs to go to God. God gave you some great gifts in order to do Children’s Ministry. God is using those gifts for His purposes and not yours. You are God’s vessel in your congregation and the kids in your ministry. You are being used by God to teach these children about Him and His Word. God is using you, yes, but for what He wants and NOT for what you want. How can we take credit for that?
So, you may be saying, but Vanessa, why not take the credit?? I deserve it! No one ever thanks me for what I do and FINALLY I got some praise! I know how you feel. Ministry is hard. I have been in a church where I felt that no one appreciated what I did. I felt like all anyone did was say something negative about me. It was so hard. Not everyone was negative, though. There were some wonderful people in that church, but sometimes those few people can make it hard on you. Today I work at a church where I feel like people appreciate what I do and I get thanked. It feels so good and makes ministry easier to handle. However, my focus needs to be on God and what He is doing in the lives of these kids. It’s not about me. It’s about God.
This morning God reminded me of Psalms 115:1: “Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and your faithfulness. What a great Scripture to write down and post in your office. Put it in a place where you’ll see it every day when you come to church. It’s a wonderful reminder that what God has called you to do is not about you. It’s about God. And all the praise and the glory goes to Him!
So how do I enjoy the praise, thanks, pats on the back, without losing sight of God? Here are some ways you can work on keeping God first:
1. Pray Before you do anything in your ministry, pray A LOT! Ask for God’s will to be revealed to you for your ministry. Ask God to give you wisdom in all you do for Him in your church. Get your team to pray as well.
2. Study Scripture Dive into the Bible and fill yourself with His words. Let them flow through you. It will be helpful to know His Word and it will keep you from washing up on the shore, having forgotten all about God in what you are doing.
3. Praise God At All Times In everything you do, thank God. Thank God for the good things and the bad things that happen in your ministry. Everything that happens, God can use to do His will. Praise God at all times!
4. Say “Go God!” The Prayer Minister at our church says this all the time, especially when she is thanked for doing something. She says it helps keep her focused on God and what He does in our church. It keeps the emphasis off of her and puts it on God, which is exactly where it should be. So the next time you are thanked for something you did at church, just say “Go God!”
God has you in your church for a reason. He has you there to serve HIS purpose. He wants to do great things through you. However, we must get ourselves out of the way. When we learn to do that, God will bless us so much more. Now … get out of the spotlight and let God shine! Go God!