I had an interesting year.
I’ve written before about this summer and the many trips I went on and programs I helped to facilitate as part of my job.
The phrase that I found to ring so true in regards to those experiences was one we’ve said a lot at my church.
“It’s a marathon not a hundred yard dash.”
Ministry doesn’t happen in a moment. It’s a mountain of moments and marathon of minutiae.
See early on in ministry and honestly still today I expect things to happen quickly. This summer however, reminded me just how big our God is and the true scope of ministry.
One week I was engaging with high school students that I remembered serving when they were in kids ministry. Then I served at KidzWorld camp where I saw the same high school kids who were served at their camp, serve and love on kids. Then I experienced seeing middle school students take steps to affirm the decisions they’d made at kids camp last year. And lastly I saw married couples of the kids I had engaged with all summer take time to work on their marriage and fully invest in their families.
The thought that struck me was how each part connected and how the life change I witnessed was many times set in motion days, months, years, and even decades before.
So if ministry is a marathon what can we learn from it?
- Starting strong matters less than staying strong. Everyone is excited about ministry starting out but finding ways to continue in the grind is crucial. Staying strong matters more than starting strong.
- Finishing means keeping your eyes on the finish line. Kids ministry matters because middle school ministry matters. Marriage ministry matters because high school ministry matters. Staying the course means realizing that each step of it has purpose. (1 Cor. 9:26).
- I don’t need to run the fastest I just need to keep running. I can spend a lot of time thinking about my own shortcomings and weaknesses. The truth is though I don’t need to be the best. I just need to keep going. His strength is made perfect in each one of my faltering steps. (2 Cor 12:9)
I don’t know where this post finds you but I do know that at those peak times in ministry, Christmas and camps, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by the fast pace. Don’t forget though you’re not running a 100 yards, you’re running a marathon. It’s okay if things don’t come together perfectly. It’s okay if you have a few missteps along the way. It’s okay if you have to slow down for a minute to catch your breath. What matters is that your feet keep stepping in front of each other. The seeds you plant will be harvested down the line and the harvest you see is the faithfulness of people who have planted before you. It’s a marathon, not a hundred yard dash. So keep running.