When I was in college at the University of Georgia I had a big project in one of my major classes. It was a project that would take hundreds of hours to complete. My professor assigned the project at the beginning of the semester and almost every time class was in session she would remind us of the project and ask a weird question – “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer she was looking for was, “One bite at a time.”
Of course, she was teaching us how to handle a big task or project – one step at a time. When it comes to ministry, we would do well to remember this. You can’t do everything all at once. You need to take it one step at a time.
When you’re leading a church, you will have a big task on your hands. There will be much to do. But you will get overwhelmed if you try to change everything overnight. You can’t transform the culture, redesign the strategy, or realign the structure overnight.
Don’t try to do it all at once. Do what you can, when you can.
Here are three things I regularly pray for as I’m approaching a big project or task. In fact, these are three things I regularly pray for even if I don’t have a big project or task on the agenda.
1. Wisdom. I read a quote just this week – “The world is drowning in knowledge but it is starving for wisdom.” Wisdom is simply applying biblical principles to real life. If you’re a pastor, I probably don’t have to prove to you that you need wisdom. Each day I recognize my great need for more than just knowledge. I need wisdom – knowledge infused by the Holy Spirit.
2. Patience. I’ve heard people say, “Never pray for patience because God will give it to you.” I think they mean that He will take you through some hard times to teach you what it means to be patient. Well, I pray for patience anyway. Because I don’t just need wisdom to know what to do. I also need patience to know when to do it.
3. Courage. As a pastor, you will be tempted to fear men instead of God. So, you need courage. I pray for the courage to do what I know I should do. I pray for the courage not to fear men. I pray for courage to share the gospel with those who need to hear. If you’re like me, you need courage every day.
In fact, when people ask how they can pray for me this is what I tell them. I need wisdom, patience, and courage. I need the wisdom to know God’s will, the patience to wait on His timing, and the courage to do whatever He says, no matter what.