Have you ever jumped the gun on a new ministry? How did it go? Read some lessons below from guest blogger Janet Peavyhouse and then personally answer the questions at the end. I know you will be challenged to re-think each “new” idea you face.
How important is waiting on God’s timing in ministry? Many in leadership have found themselves on the rocks of disappointment because they have become shipwrecked through impulsiveness and haste. When we sense a need, but we’re unwilling to wait on God’s perfect timing, it causes us to begin a ministry that was our idea but not God’s at that time.
There are those who say the need is the call and we should immediately make the move into action. However, we don’t find that to be necessarily true in scripture. Time and again we see that impulsively running ahead of God can cause heartache and disappointment. Directions become unclear and the aims become our plans, our strength, and our ministry rather than God’s. A right action can turn out to be wrong simply because of timing.
One of God’s clearest messages on waiting comes from the Book of Nehemiah. We have so often
done an injustice to the story of Nehemiah by using it only as a tool toward a building program. But Nehemiah is so much more! Nehemiah is a book on prayer, a book on service, a book on communication, a book on devotion to God and His principles, and a book on leadership. Many of the spiritual principles that hold life together are illustrated most powerfully in the story of Nehemiah. One principle that you see presented so emphatically in the first two chapters is “waiting on God’s timing”.
Nehemiah heard from his brother the “bad news” about walls around the holy city. They were broken down and in desperate need of being rebuilt, but because of the decline in spirituality and the general apathy of the people, they were allowed to lie in ruins and nothing was done. This left the holy city vulnerable and open to attack from their enemies. How did Nehemiah, a cupbearer to the king of Persia, react to hearing that his ancestral city walls were in disrepair? Did he impulsively rush off to Jerusalem to fix the problem? Did he give his brother instructions to solve the problem? Or did he have a “knee jerk” reaction and rush ahead of God and His plan?
He did none of this. His reaction was one of great sorrow, intense prayer and fasting, and waiting on God’s direction. He gives us such a clear pattern of how God wants us to react to needs we see around us. Instead of jumping into ministry, we are called to stop,pray, fast, and wait on God for our direction. I have seen in my ministry a good idea die on the rocks of impulsiveness and haste. I was not willing to stop and let God give me the guidance and direction that would bring success and honor to Him. I led from my “overflow” instead of going to God for direction and leadership.
So how important is His timing in ministry? It is everything! When it is done in His timing, ministry becomes what God can do, which in return, glorifies Him and changes us.
Nehemiah waited on God and saw Him do great and mighty things:
1. God opened up the heart of a pagan King
2. God provided all the needed materials for the wall.
3. God began to build in Nehemiah the principles of spiritual leadership to get the job done.
Nehemiahs’ choice to wait on God brought glory to God and that is truly the ultimate goal in ministry…to give honor and glory to Him in all we do!
Ask God to help you adjust your spiritual clock to His timing. Ask Him to help you be alert to what He is calling you to do and the right timing to set out to do His will. Remember God’s timing is always perfect and ours is NOT.
Read Nehemiah 1-2
1. How do you prepare your heart and mind to receive instruction from God?
2. Is your prayer life one that includes fasting?
3. What has been the result in your ministry when you have run ahead of God?
4. What guidelines do you need to have in place to ensure that you are beginning a new ministry consistent with God timing?
5. Ultimately, do you trust God to do His work in your ministry, in His timing, or do you need to hold the ruins and have the control? If the answer is yes, seek His forgiveness and ask for His guidance!
Janet has served in a part time ministerial women’s staff position at First Baptist Church in Brandon, Florida for the past 17 years. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother of three adorable grandchildren. She has taught for the Florida Baptist Convention in the area of women’s ministry and missions, and is a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. She has served on the steering committee for the Florida Baptist Convention, which established a women’s ministry program for the state. Janet’s desire is to help equip women with the tools they need to serve the women in their local church with a loving heart. She also desires to see women become like Jesus’ hands and feet, as they reach out to their local communities with the same kind of love.