My husband and I have a coffee shop ministry and lead a non-traditional interactive study group on Sunday evenings. We have several other churches that call our coffee shop home, but Sunday evening gatherings is our church. It’s small,l so when someone misses we feel it.
I felt God nudging me to try to get myself and others more involved in charitable outreach in our community. We know the Bible well but do we really put feet on our faith? In response to this I decided to hold a meeting in place of our regular meetings once a month to brainstorm what we could do and plan it out. I thought I made it clear that this was not a part of our regular meetings but would take place instead on the same night but only once a month. Those who wanted to attend could but were not obligated to.
I invited several other church group leaders from non-traditional churches to attend. One leader from one group had to cancel at the last minute. One other group did attend and had good representation. At this meeting we talked about what the group had done for charitable causes and kicked around a few ideas with nothing decided in the end except to do more research and start an online FaceBook benevolence networking page for members of our group so we could swap ideas and possibly collaborate.
The FaceBook presence has been launched so some good came of this. Several days later Jeff got a call from two of our leaders who had been faithful to our Sunday evening gatherings and who had attended the benevolence meeting. They informed us they were pulling out of our group because of a desire to be involved in a more traditional church. This came out of the blue and seemed very odd that it happened right after they attended the benevolence gathering. Had we put too much pressure on people to get involved in charitable events? Had I said something to offend? I sent an email addressing some of these questions to the couple and again they stated it had nothing to do with us but was more related to where they stood for needs and church style.
I’d like to say I’ve recovered. But truthfully I’ve spent a tearful morning trying to cope. Lately it seems like the ministry world is unraveling and despite my best intentions people are disappointing me. Leading in ministry right now feels like herding cats. As a cat owner I know how impossible it can be.
It leaves me asking, “what is wrong with me? Why am I such a mediocre leader and even why am I mediocre at everything? Why do so many Christian men especially disappoint me? Why do I have a preconceived idea of success that never measures up to the reality of what is? Why do American Christians resist working together and for that matter, why, being one of the richest countries in the world, are we so stingy with our resources? I had hoped this benevolence group with be a time of camaraderie while doing good. If am supposed to stop leading and organizing, how do I turn that off when it’s a part of my makeup?
How many other Christians, especially those in leadership feel this way? At this point I don’t have any answers but I fully identify with the prophet Elijah under the broom tree.