Every summer, all of us missionaries of Philippine Campus Crusade for Christ raise personal and ministry support, and we call this “Ministry Partner Development” (or MPD). During MPD time, we face a slew of challenges that never fail to stretch our faith, and all these tests are meant to expand our view of who God is as the One who called us full-time to His Kingdom-work.
Having been in this ministry for 15 years (including my two years as a volunteer), I can truthfully say that I’m VERY familiar with the struggles that come with MPD. Common problems and temptations we face, whether in circumstance or attitude, are:
- not having a large enough Christian community or network (especially true if we just joined the ministry);
- ministry partners “moving on”– meaning they have transferred residence, decided to focus their giving on other persons or projects, or have gone to be with the Lord;
- feeling anxious, pressured by deadlines, or unsure about the Lord’s calling; and,
- being ‘territorial’ over potential contacts or even present ministry partners, thus not wanting to give contacts or allowing other missionaries to contact ministry partners.
Our personal preparation, therefore, for each MPD season is very crucial. To set our hearts right, it’s important to develop the proper mindset for MPD. Of the many critical steps to take, let me share three.
First, instead of giving in to anxiety, pressure or stress, choose to pray, be thankful & guarded by His peace.
In our office, one afternoon, I was feeling the burden of helping raise funds for PCCC’s corporate need. The pressure was intense, and I bet it showed in my face. A senior staff lady asked how I was and I openly shared my heart condition. She gently counseled that I should take time to rest and be assured that the Lord will provide for His own, according to His perfect will, way and timetable. I took her advise to heart, repented from worrying and dwelt in the peace and comfort of God’s assurance through her words.
As God’s servants, we must be constantly guarding ourselves from anxiety. We can cloak anxiety with other words, like feeling panicky or paranoid, and these can lead us to overwork. We can even go to the opposite end of the spectrum of letting worry paralyze us, causing us to be lazy or to delay. My anxiety commonly displays itself in making demands and nagging my husband.
To experience God’s peace and intervention, Philippians 4 exhorts us:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:6-7 NLT.
One of my very practical habits to release myself from the torturous grip of anxiety is to keep a daily journal of thanks. I thank the Lord specifically for the very real promises in His Word that have sustained me through 15 years of serving Him full-time. I also thank Him for future answers to prayer that are already a “yes” and an “amen”, in accordance to His will. Today, I intentionally asked myself, “Am I truly thanking God for this certain challenge?” I don’t want to just go through the motions; I want to be truly and joyfully grateful!
What are practical ways that help you release your anxieties to the Lord?
(To be continued: Part 2– Rest in the knowledge that the earth is the Lord’s,… and our work, too!)