HELP! MY MINISTRY FEELS STUCK

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Ask two different people to describe Peter, and you’ll get two different responses. In Acts, we see the Peter we all long to be. When he preaches, 3,000 people respond. When he’s persecuted, he rejoices to be “counted worthy of the name of Jesus.” When God says “go,” Peter is the first to take the gospel to the Gentiles. When the early church struggles, they look to Peter to lead them.

We dream of our disciples being like Peter—dynamic communicators and bold leaders, living on mission in deep relationship with Jesus.

But rewind a few weeks and we see a different Peter. In the gospels, Peter is the deny-er. He leads the disciples into hiding and runs from suffering.

This Peter is so different from the one in Acts that it makes you wonder if they’re even related, let alone the same person. It’s like there’s a stuck version and an unstuck version. Unstuck Peter is full of faith, freedom, and fruit. Stuck Peter is faithless, fearful, and fruitless.

Have you ever noticed how many Christ-followers are stuck? There’s the high school girl who was on fire for Jesus in your youth group, but when she went university she left her faith behind. There’s the young leader who wants to serve Jesus with his whole life, but then freezes when faced with the cost of the calling. There’s the girl who came to Christ on your camp last summer, but hasn’t figured out how to walk with Jesus in everyday life. Stuck Christ-followers cost the kingdom.

It happens to us, too. Our leadership gets stuck. Paradigms that worked so well last year aren’t sufficient for the leadership challenges of this year. Our spiritual life gets stuck. We lead others towards Jesus when we haven’t encountered him for weeks. Sometimes, our entire ministries get stuck. Our youth groups are ingrown and passive, and we wonder what happened.

stucke_quoteAnd often, effort isn’t the problem. Like a car stuck in the mud, we press the gas pedal, spin the tires, and exert huge amounts of energy and resources to go nowhere. We try new personal disciplines, or new program ideas, or new scheduling techniques, but nothing seems to work. We end up tired and discouraged, and we wonder what’s wrong.

Have you been there?

Can you imagine how your youth ministry would change if every follower of Christ were experiencing the freedom and fruit God designed them to experience?

Can you imagine how your youth ministry would change if every leader were operating at full kingdom effectiveness?

Can you imagine how you would change if this were true for you?

Who in your group is stuck right now? Who is trying hard but getting nowhere? Who is staying in place and entirely too comfortable? Who wants to follow Jesus but isn’t experiencing freedom and producing fruit?

What is the key next step that will free them? How can you help them take it?

Jesus says, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I have come so that you may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Jesus is in the business of making stuck people unstuck—just look at what he did with Peter. We join him in that mission.

There are four mistakes people often make when they’re stuck. In my next post, we’ll look at the first one.

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