Recently, I was working on a big ministry project, a week-long youth ministry retreat this summer. There are many moving parts to this event, including a team of 14 volunteer director’s, 50 or so volunteer staff, online registration process, communication and marketing, audio/visual equipment, supplies, small group journals, meetings, and, oh trust me, much more!
Needless to say, I was feeling a little overwhelmed, feeling a little stressed, and feeling a little pressure.
If you’re like me, sometimes I avoid the programs that cause me stress. Well, I think I was avoiding some of this work. I woke up in the morning and the first thing I thought about was the retreat. Last thing I thought about before I went to bed was the retreat. It was consuming me.
To try and combat what I was feeling, I immediately went to prayer. My time in prayer was helpful, but looming over the prayer was still this pressure. Prayer was good, but it wasn’t enough.
But then I figured it out.
Whenever I start to feel the stress about an event or project that I’m leading, it’s usually caused by one thing: the unknown.
What was the unknown in this situation?
The unknown was all the little things that need to get done between now and the retreat.
I had a solution!
I spent a few hours going through past retreat documents and writing out a detailed to-do list of all the little things that needed to get done. Next to the task, I wrote who was responsible for the task and what the potential due date might be. (It was quite refreshing to know that I was not responsible for all the tasks on the list.)
Wow! My stress and the pressure I was feeling dissipated instantly. Why? Because I knew what I had to do. I knew that it was manageable and that it was going to get done.
The big, scary unknown turned into a small, manageable, and doable reality.
Try it. Next time you are feeling overwhelmed about your ministry, after taking it to prayer, sit down and write out the unknowns. Make them known and see how you feel afterwards.
How do you fight stress in your ministry? How do you make the unknown known?