Usually when we have growth in our spiritual life, certain parts of ministry get easier.  Things that used to make us anxious become second nature. We work faster on things that used to take forever. What used to worry us is no longer a concern. This kind of comfort in ministry isn’t a bad thing; it’s just a sign that we’re learning, growing, and forming habits. While this process is something that naturally happens in anything we do, it can sometimes make us forget about the battle that we’re fighting, or the mission we’re given.

This became real to me a few months ago when I went on retreat.  I learned a lot about consistency in my personal prayer life and how regularity helps us enter into the presence of God.  So I resolved to be more consistent with the location and time of day that I would have my personal prayer time. As I continued on this consistency plan, I saw that not only was my personal life bearing fruit, but also my ministry was becoming more efficient.

Settling into a comfort zone in ministry
can make us settle for less.

This boost in productivity was exactly what my ministry needed. However, little by little, I began to settle into a comfort zone.  Ministry was becoming so repetitive that I put less and less effort into the things I was doing. Instead of trying to be more creative, I settled for something that was less, something I knew and understood and had done before. I thought that the little effort I was putting forth was a result of my changed prayer life; in reality, it was me afraid and unsure about stepping out of the things that were familiar.

Sometimes we don’t realize that this can happen, or is currently happening.  I am blessed to have a ministry team around me that can hold me accountable and point out the things that I can’t see.  Once I became aware that I was doing this, I was able to be intentional with stepping out of my comfort zone, which allowed me to be more dynamic with the youth.

Extra effort spent on ministry is worth it.
After all, we are helping people reach the relationship and
destination they were created for.

Reflect on what Jesus says in Matthew’s gospel:  “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25.  He tells us that we will have to forget about our comfort and deny ourselves. The extra time and effort spent on our youth is worth it.  After all, we are helping people reach the relationship and destination they were created for.

There is always a chance to reach one more person to build the Kingdom.  We have to keep vigilant and watch for these opportunities so that we can act on them.  Even if we are keeping up with our spiritual life, we still have to put in the effort. When we become complacent and comfortable, our ministries will become dull and less dynamic.  After all, we are spreading the Good News, not the “meh” news. What is your comfort zone, and when is the last time you crossed it?

[tweetthis]We’re spreading the Good News- not “meh” news. Get out of your comfort zone.[/tweetthis]


Jeremy Stavinoha, former middle school youth minister at St. Anthony’s in Bryan