Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin

Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin is about bringing together some of the leading 
women in children's ministry to share their knowledge and passion. 
For us to gather and learn from each sharpen each other.
As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
Proverbs 27:17

Facing Hard Things in Ministry
- Gloria Lee

What is the hardest thing you have faced in ministry? 
How did you get through it?

When I first read this question, two instances popped into my head.  

1.  First actually happened to me multiple times in two churches that I have served at. It stemmed from the fact that I'm a single woman without kids.  
I've been told all of the below: 

•  I don't have to listen to your teaching and leadership because as a woman, your job is to teach kids... Not men!  
•  You have no business telling the parents anything in regards to parenting because you just don't know.
•  Let me be your mouthpiece to the parents... The parents can't respect what you say because you're a single woman. 
•  When you're a parent, what the Bible says goes out the window. Our maternal instincts take over so I don't agree with what you're teaching my kids. 

Yes, the last one sounds ridiculous, but I really had a parent say that to me.  It's pretty hard to offend me (really...) but these words really stung! So much that my confidence and calling were shaken, and I convinced myself that I shouldn't be in ministry. I actually had written a resignation letter (or dug out the original one when it happened again) and decided that there was no place for single women in KidMin. When I look back, I think I was devastated because I couldn't help the fact that I was born a girl, hadn't met Mr. Right, thus didn't have children of my own. It all felt out of my control… and I was deflated. 

Thankfully God has a way of sending the right people at the right time to lend me their ears, shoulders to cry on, and speak truth into my life. Each time I was days away from resigning, I had people calling me, buying me lunch, praying with and for me, and reaffirming my calling into KidMin.  They didn't just puff up my ego, but they spoke truth and wisdom on dealing with the whole situation. I even had my lead pastor who affirmed my calling and role from the pulpit… and he told the whole congregation that I was who he and his wife turn to when it comes to their children's spiritual formation, discipline, and their issues. I know I only got through these points in my life because of people who saw the potential in me and loved me.

2.  I was fortunate to be part of a small church that really became a family for 9 years. We were far from being the perfect church… but as the children's pastor, I was very connected to many families, which made up 80% of the church. After our senior pastor resigned, we were without a lead pastor for a year and a half and then when all else failed, we were adopted as a multi-site of another existing church. During this time, I, along with few leaders, felt the burden of having to be the glue to keep this family together for over 2 years. As time went on, people started getting tired and everyone started dragging their feet. After a year of being in this limbo stage, I felt that God was leading me out of this ministry.  However, I was way too invested in the lives of church members to leave. In addition, I was afraid that if I left, many of the families would also leave because parents kept telling me that they only came to church for our KidMin and nothing else. I was afraid of the domino effect I would create if I rocked the boat. In addition, I truly loved the kids and the adults at the church, and I couldn't bear the thought of leaving them.

Against my better judgment, I told myself that I had to endure through this time… and that I would leave after things stabilized. During this time, I suffered from insomnia for over a year, broke out in cold sores every couple weeks, started gaining weight, and found myself completely stressed.  About 8 months after our church was adopted as a multi-site and I was overseeing KidMin at both sites, I eventually burned out and finally turned in my resignation. One month later, the church folded. Some people "gave me the credit" for the church folding (in a nice way… not in bitterness). What I learned from this experience is that I let my emotions and reasoning only prolonged slow death. Although I felt God's urging, I kept telling God "later, later…" thinking I didn't want to disappoint or hurt people. I thought I was doing everyone a favor by staying as long as I did. We learned through this process that it's okay for a church to come to an end, and release people to go where they can grow and serve in healthy ways. I learned that God always has the better plan… and true relationships go beyond what church we attend together.  Although I have been out of that church for almost 2 years now, I still meet up with many families and my old volunteer team.  

I seem to learn more through my mistakes than making wise choices… but these difficult times have been amazing journeys in my life, and definitely have changed me for the better. I'm thankful for these difficult, trying times. I still have my own insecurities, but I am firm of my calling into KidMin. There is nothing else I can imagine or dream of doing. I already have the best vocation! And God's way is always the best!

Gloria S. Lee
Graduate of UC Berkeley and Talbot School of Theology, Gloria has been committed to Children’s Ministry for 18+ years.  She’s led many workshops at conventions including CPC, NWMC, CMTA, and BASS.  She has contributed to INCM’s Insight newsletters, Trust Us, They’ll Ask, and If I Can Do All Things Through Christ, Why Can’t I Find My Car Keys?, VBS curriculum, and global sports ministry curriculum.  
She currently leads children and family ministry in Los Angeles, Ca.

You can also connect with Gloria via:
Twitter -  Blog - Facebook - LinkedIn


  1. Great encouragement! I work in youth ministry and there is so many times where people have said hurtful or discouraging things to me... love that God moves faster than my discouragement!

  2. I loved her comment about how God puts certain people in your life at certain times to help you through things- I have definitely experienced this firsthand. Just wanted to thank you for linking up with the GFC Collective this week. Hope it was successful for you and I hope to see you back next week :)
    Bre @ Peacoats and Plaid


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...