When Ministry Doesn’t Work


This morning I went to meet with a student who I’d been helping with reading for the last time this school year.  Since he was taking exams and didn’t feel ready I was hoping to encourage him, but my heart sank when the secretary told me he simply hadn’t shown up for exams.

The drive back to Barrouaille my attitude was definitely different.  I wasn’t angry with the student (disappointed of course) intead my heart was filled with shame and embarrassment.   The question going through my head was “what could I have done better?”

There is nothing wrong with that question…however sometimes these experiences are God’s way of showing us He has something better.

So I changed the question to “does God want this to continue?” and the answer became clear

  1. Students struggled not only in reading, but in Maths, and many other subjects as well
  2. The school was located 20 minutes from where I live, so there is no interaction outside of class
  3. I meet them for thirty-minutes twice a week
  4. Unfortunately my schedule kept me from them occasionally, plus they were absent from school a lot
  5. And it proved difficult to develop a strong relationship with them within that ministry setting

Because of this though I’m open to returning in September, I’m praying the Lord will help me develop a reading ministry in the village of Barrouaille instead.

It’s easy to view ministry setbacks as a failure and just “try harder next time.”  But wisdom allows God to take that ministry out of our open hand, so that He can provide something much better.

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