Succeeding with What You Have
My first two years out of college were spent teaching at Pepperell Middle School in Lindale, Georgia. Although my degree was in the area of the Social Sciences I was pleased when they called upon me to teach two hours of Physical Education each day for sixth grade boys. With my love of sports this was like getting dessert with every meal for me. The school was fairly new and had a small gym that was just large enough to accommodate a basketball court with no room for spectators (in other words; as small as a gym can possibly be). In addition, there were no designed playing fields. To add to the challenge I was assigned 60 students each hour. It doesn’t stop there. Two other P.E. classes were meeting at the same hour. We were limited on facilities, overcrowded with students, and forced to do a job with much patience, cooperation, and creativity. I loved it! I did this for two years and learned to focus on what I had rather than what I did not have to get the job done. I think the Lord was preparing me.
The first full-time ministry post for me was with students and children at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, Georgia. You may know the story of how mightily God blessed in allowing us to see hundreds of students come to Christ in the decade when I had responsibility for students. Did you ever hear about the Student ministry facilities there? Well actually, we never had any. How about the student ministry offices? Too much to say here but you would not be impressed. I would visit other churches with admitted envy when I saw the facilities that they provided for the students and the student ministry staff. But…I was determined to never let that stop me from doing what I could with what I had.
I can always stand to have a larger budget, more office space, more staff, and more elevation of my ministry by key leaders. But it would be a shame to pass up great opportunities by focusing on what I do not have rather than thanking God for what I do have and trusting Him to work, not through the strength of what I am provided, but by the strength of His Spirit. You need not be afraid to ask for more but do not base your ministry on resources so much as your passion, leadership, creativity, and most importantly, reliance on the Holy Spirit. John G. Miller sums it up this way:
“As individuals, focusing on what we don’t have rather than on what we can accomplish with what we do have is a waste of time and energy. In the end, outstanding organizations and their people get the job done with the tools and resources they have been given.”