As a church leader, your work is … interesting.
You have feet in two different worlds:
How you measure the effectiveness of your work in these areas couldn’t be further apart.
Think about it.
One part of your work is administrative.
You have to prepare for your worship service.
You have to organize events, arrange counseling sessions, and manage your volunteers and staff.
You also have to respond to emails, texts, and calls, and make sure everything else is being taken care of.
Your administrative work is something you can measure.
You have projects to manage, deadlines to meet, and tasks to accomplish. For better or worse, with your administrative work, you can experience tangible results—the sense of checking off something from your to-do list.
But this isn’t the case at all for your spiritual work.
You preach the gospel.
You teach the Bible.
You help people to live and love like Jesus.
The spiritual side of your work isn’t like your administrative tasks. Sure, you can check off of your to-do list certain things like, “Preach this Sunday,” “Meet with a church member,” or “Spend one hour praying for my community and church.”
But here’s the deal about your spiritual work:
You can’t control the results.
The more you do doesn’t necessarily result in more “accomplishments.”
You can’t force people to accept the gospel, apply a lesson from the Bible, or instantaneously live more like Jesus. In other words, the results of your spiritual work are in the hands of God—not yours.
Waiting for God to work in the life of your church can be challenging, and it’s easy to be discouraged. As you work, and work, and work with your people, you may not observe any tangible results (fruit) for months, years, or ever.
What do you do in the meantime?
There’s only one thing you can do, and that’s to wait.
Waiting on God isn’t the same thing as not doing anything.
It’s quite the opposite.
There are three core things you should do as you wait on God, and I’d like to share them with you now.
#1 – Trust in God
Do you preach the gospel?
Do you teach or preach the Bible?
Do you help people work through their struggles?
Then lean in to hear these words from the Apostle Paul:
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58).
If you are doing God’s work, then your work is not in vain.
The work you do in your church is important in the kingdom of God.
Without someone sharing the gospel, how can anyone believe?
Without someone giving sacrificially, who will support the local church?
Without someone providing food, clothing, and shelter, how will those in need be cared for?
While you wait on God, trust that he is working through you to accomplish his plans.
#2 – Continue to pray
God didn't call you to serve his church alone.
He called you to participate in his work with him.
Practically speaking, there’s no way you can do your spiritual work without God’s strength. Serving the church without God would be like trying to drive a car without gas—it’s not going to work.
Without God’s help, you’ll experience moments of energy, positive momentum, and seasons of flourishing. But eventually, you’ll get tired, hit a wall, and burn out.
As a church leader, your primary problem won’t be stress—it will be a lack of strength. A lack of fuel to keep doing what you’re doing.
Your lack of strength isn’t physical, and it can’t be replenished by an extra cup of coffee or a four-pack of energy drinks.
The strength you need is spiritual. You can’t buy it online or from a convenience store. The only place—or better yet, Person—you can get spiritual strength from is God.
How do you draw strength from God?
One of the best ways to receive God’s strength is through prayer.
When you pray, you may not experience a booster shot of energy. But that’s not the point.
You’ll receive an inner strength and a renewed commitment to keep pressing on.
Here are several Bible verses about strength you can pray:
- Nehemiah 8:10
- Psalm 22:19
- Psalm 28:7–8
- Psalm 119:28
- Isaiah 40:28–31
- Ephesians 6:10
- 2 Corinthians 12:9–10
#3 – Keep doing good work
There’s one thing you can’t stop doing while you’re waiting: Working.
Now isn't the time to stop preaching the gospel, sharing biblical truths, or spending time with your people. Ceasing from your work as a church leader would be like a farmer not doing two things:
- Protecting their seeds
- Preparing to reap a harvest.
While you wait, you have to protect the seeds you planted in the life of your people. As a church leader, you don’t labor alone. You’re up against spiritual forces. In the words of the Apostle Paul, you’re fighting “… against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph 6:12).
The people in your church (members and visitors) are struggling with sin, facing temptations, or simply navigating a difficult season. Neglecting your church at these crucial times can set your people up to be overtaken by whatever their facing.
Instead of sitting on your thumbs and watching the weeds grow, prepare to reap a harvest.
Continue to spend time with your people, know what’s going on in their lives, and most importantly of all, continue to share the gospel and point people to Jesus.
Working while you’re waiting isn’t probably what you want to hear.
So let me leave you with these encouraging words from Galatians 6:9:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Waiting on God
Waiting on God isn’t easy.
If anything, waiting on God is slowly becoming a more significant challenge for people. Whether it’s streaming a video to watch, purchasing a product online, or standing in line at the grocery store, waiting for anything or anyone can be frustrating.
As you wait on God to accomplish his work, take a step back, hit the pause button, and reevaluate your expectations in light of what I just shared.
God is at work in your church.
He’s at work in your community.
And he's working through you.
As you wait on God, remember to do these three things:
- Trust in God
- Continue to pray
- Keep doing good work
In time, you will enjoy the fruits of your labor.