Follow me:
Discouragement when your Ministry is Ending in Ministry | This Pilgrim's Progress | Lorraine Yeung

Discouragement when your Ministry is Ending

My Discouragement in this ministry

The backstory

For over four years now of being involved with our church plant’s youth ministry and I have been co-leading it with my cousin for the last two and a half years;  in those year’s it has been filled with many ups and downs. As we approach the three-year mark of co-leading this ministry together, my cousin will be leaving this youth ministry we worked on together to fulfil God’s call on him to go to another city to reach the lost. I am left feeling alone and on my own.

In the years that we have co-lead this youth ministry, we have seen our youth grow up into young men and women, and we will soon see them leave to seek a college education, and ultimately to pursue Christ for themselves. It’s funny to see when we look back at photos of them, seeing how young they were and seeing how God has guided their hearts since then.

We have taken our youth on day trips to the IMAX, to the city, paintballing, skiing, various other places, hung out with them for movies, lunches, coffees. We have sweet memories taking our youth on surf trips to my favourite place, Tofino, to have fun and share our stories of God’s grace and mercy to us. I am tearing up just thinking about all the things we’ve done together writing this!

Discouragement when your Ministry is Ending

But as this new season approaches where I will no longer have my cousin to work along side by side. There are moments where I slip into discouragement, as waves upon waves of thoughts overwhelm me. Thoughts of declining numbers, my complete inability to lead or serve in this ministry alone, the future for our youth, the uncertainty of what’s going to happen, my aversion towards suffering, seeing failure and toiling at this hard ground. In the midst of all these thoughts, I struggle to discern as to whether it’s a season to end things or a season to endure and trust.

My Iniquities and Shortcomings

I am afraid of failing. Some are bad reasons, some are awful. This season is like a pressure pot where all my shortcomings and iniquities are surfacing and are being revealed. In this situation, I see that I have wrongly placed my identity in what I do and in my ministry. I see where I have sought my own glory and not the Father’s glory. I can see that I have tried to play Saviour and see that I am not. I have sought to take control and play God and found that I am not in control. I have been prayerless and so much more. Perhaps my discouragement is from seeing my own shortcomings and limitations to do that task set before me.

Truths that I’m straining to hold fast

In the midst of this stormy cloud of thought, the Holy Spirit catches me as I am engulfed by these destructive and impulsive feelings. I can only turn to the Rock and strain to see Him more clearly in this squall.

I am not my Ministry

It’s easy to put your identity in your ministry; to see your worth in the success, size, growth and vibrancy of the work you’ve been placed to toil over. However, this could not be further to the truth, my worth, value, affirmation does not come from what work I do, but the work Christ has done for me. The “success” of my ministry is primarily the work of the Spirit; He is the one transforming, saving, bringing to life, restoring, healing the people in whom I’m serving. Moreover, He is the one who has given me the life, breath, gifts, resources, calling to do the ministry in the first place.

Ministries are sometimes only for seasons

As much as we desire to leave these long-lasting legacies of change and redemption, this does not necessarily mean that our ministry will exist for the same lifespan. Sometimes God calls for a certain season for a ministry to start and then to end. The legacies of change and redemption that we leave are held in the storehouse of treasures in Heaven; they are not meant to merely live itself out in an earthly presence. Know that it’s not a failure to dissolve a ministry. Sometimes the needs of your church, people or community just change. Sometimes God call is just for a short-term period; dissolve it, end it well, and rejoice and celebrate as you look back at the work that God has done through you.

God is with me

I am anxious that I am to do so much work alone and on my own. Yet I am not on my own, but my prayerlessness and anxious turmoil inside refuses the only one who is truly with me. God is not only with me, but His Spirit dwells within me because of the finished work of Christ. More over, it is not me who needs to do more work more, but it’s going to be the Spirit who works in me and through me who is doing the hard work; my work is to love and obey Christ.

God Is certain, foreknowing, and already has a plan

I am anxious, for I am uncertain over what is going to happen. What if I have to do this on my own? What if we can’t find a male leader for the guys? What if we can’t continue this youth ministry and it gets dissolved? What if it all ends and what would our youth think? How will this affect their views on Jesus? And on and on it goes… Yet God is certain, God knows what will happen, and better still, He already had birthed a plan before the foundations of this world. No, I cannot be certain, but I can look to a God who is certain about what will happen and who already has a plan in place.

God provides

I am anxious that we will not get what I think I need to continue our youth ministry if it is His will. Yes God has provided me with everything I needed to grant His desire of my heart to serve on a church plant. He gave me the plane ticket, a place to live, a car to drive, a job to afford it. He even gifted me to my cousin to work and serve alongside in all of it. He gave me a youth ministry to steward. Surely if it remains or if He takes it away, it’s all in His sovereign grace and will. Sometimes God provides what I need, and it’s already right in front of me, but I’ve been too busy looking for what I thought I needed or expect.

I have no answers

I’m praying that God will hasten to bring someone along soon. Praying that God will gently humble my heart and prevent me from being blinded by my own pride. I’m asking that I would firmly place my identity in Him, that I would not falsely place my identity in my ministry and position. I’m praying that His truth will override my feelings. I’m praying for forgiveness. I have no answers. But I worship a God who does.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7, ESV)

Previous Post Next Post

You may also like

  • Liv Migenes

    Hi Lorraine…and I thought I was the only one going through transitions! lol Actually, this is a season for transitions for many people and I found myself (internally) nodding at much of what you wrote. I’m also a youth leader and one of the foundational things we need to learn is to depend fully on God. You went through a season of having a partner in ministry but perhaps God is going to show you how to completely depend on him much like God did with Moses and Aaron. At first Moses depended on his brother to be his mouthpiece, but there came a time when Moses had to hear from God and speak directly to the people. Remember, your youth ministry is actually God’s and He will raise people up who need to be there. God has you, Lorraine and He’s going to work all things out for your good and His glory! May the peace of Christ rule in your heart during this season. As one youth leader to another, please know that I’m here if you need encouragement and prayer :)

    • Liv!

      Thank you sweet, sweet lady for you reply. I can’t tell you how encouraging and reassuring it was to hear you just point back to the truth of who God is right now, and who the ministry belongs to!

      Feeling a lot of the time that I’m completely inadequate for the task, but now reminded of this:-

      But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, theLord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (Exodus 4:10-12, ESV)

      Thanks so much Liv, appreciating your encouragement here! :)

  • Amy

    been here.
    man have i been here.
    i served in a church plant youth ministry for 4 years. and the last three i was the leader.
    it was hard, challenging, beautiful, rewarding, and terrfying.
    never feeling like i “measured up” or that i was “reaching/leaving an impression/making an impact”.
    we ended up having to close the church doors due to a whole list of crap.
    and i’m still shattered over it and picking up the pieces and figuring out where i belong in ministry.
    BUT God is good – His plans outweigh ours – and as long as we put our trust, pride, humility, and hope in Him…good things will come either in this life or in Heaven.

    • Woah, that’s crazy, and that must have been crazy hard. Have you managed to find a new church and get plugged in since?
      It’s so devestating when a church implodes like that, and I know I would be super hurt.
      BUT… I’m so glad for you that you can still see that God is good, in control and that you can still hope and trust in Him. Thank you Amy for reminding me of those things. :)

      • Amy

        ah – finding a new church has been quite the struggle if i’m being honest.
        i’m still searching – and it’s been…hmm three years since it closed.
        i think i’ve found a place to put some roots into …its just letting go of the fear ya know? :)
        Lorraine, this really was a great post, full of honesty!

        • Asking our Father right now that He’ll be able to not only find you a place to get your roots in to, put to help breakdown any walls in your heart that shouldn’t be there.

          I have a huge fear of getting hurt, and I know it’s so scary to pour yourself in to something again when something crazy like a church closure happens…

          Looking forward to hearing a post from you soon about how God has found a new church home for you :)

          • Amy

            you are so kind friend. <3
            Thank you so much for your prayers!