Monday, April 7, 2014

Ministry Monday: There Are No Small Victories

I have a picture up in my office. It has two boys, dressed classicly from the 50's. It's clear they aren't headed for any full-ride scholarships from any college looking for the next star quarterback. At the bottom of the picture, it reminds us all that some days are hopscotch days, while others are waiting to get nailed at dodgeball kind of days.

There will be whole seasons of getting nailed at dodgeball. At least, it will feel that way. And sometimes those seasons will run back to back with each other. Perhaps you can't remember the last hopscotch kind of day you had. Maybe you feel like God stopped making those days. 

I don't know what you're going through. Oftentimes I have trouble figuring out what I'm going through. Board meetings take ugly turns, students can seemingly turn on you at the worst moments, parents can say the wrong thing, events and group meetings can turn disastrous. 

It can cause one to wonder when the next dodgeball is going to hit us in the face while the gym teacher (read: the watching world) just laughs and tells us we're out (read: we had it coming). 

If it goes on long enough, we may even start to look for small victories. You know the kind;
  • Go a whole day without a complaint from anyone.
  • Nobody falls asleep while you presented the gospel.
  • A teen gave an answer that was on the same topic as your question.
Small victories, the kind that make you forget all the problems you have, if even for a moment. They give you something to share with your spouse that was positive. 

But here's the thing. I don't think there are small victories. There are only victories waiting to be celebrated. If you only compare the good with the bad and then see how they balance, you will be left like a boy in fourth grade (a boy I just made up in my head, having no resemblance to any child living in my house) and the only thing to look forward to at school will be lunch and recess. 

Then you will start to miss the good stuff. For my son...I mean the fictional boy I completely made up, it could mean overlooking when the teacher doesn't assign homework. For us in ministry, it could mean missing the growth of a teenager, the new volunteer, the moment when someone was encouraged by what you said.

And Heaven forbid you overlook the moment when 4 young boys decide to give their lives to Christ. Yes, they have driven you crazy in the children's ministry you help lead. Yes, you sometimes wonder why they come when all they will do is make jokes and distract others. But for at least one small moment, a light bulb went on and they realized their need for a Savior, which just happens to be the Man you're all about sharing on those dodgeball kinds of days. 

There are no small victories.

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