We had a YOU Lead women’s training even in Tacoma, WA recently and one of our local workshop leaders was Angela Craig. She is our guest writer today and I know this message will make you stop and think about how you are doing ministry. Thanks, Angela, for inspiring us today!
Recently, I attended a Spin class at my gym. If you have never taken a Spin class before, I would describe it as an energetic outdoor cycling experience that happens on a stationary bike inside your local gym with a motivated instructor and driving music that keeps you geared up as you climb hills, sprint flat terrains, push through head winds, and team race during anaerobic intervals. Although this class is advertised for “all fitness” levels, I would say that the classes I have taken have an air of competition and your success level is based on the puddle of sweat accumulated on the floor below your pedals.
During the class I recently attended, my handle bars became wobbly. Wobbly handle bars are a relatively normal circumstance on a Spin bike since the handle bars are adjustable. So I simply reached down to tighten the knob that adjusts the hand bar height and tightness. I turned the knob to the right about ten times. Nothing happened. I turned the knob to the right some more. Something happened. The handle bars became looser. I thought to myself, “Angela, you must be turning the wrong direction.” I turned it the other direction, but quicker this time since the handle bars were now coming off in my hands and the situation was becoming noticeable to the rest of the class. Of course I had chosen a bike in the front row near the center of the room. Since this attempt failed, I moved my towel from blocking the view of my hand and the knob so I could see if my work was actually accomplishing anything; maybe the screw was stripped. Sweat was now dripping from my forehead, more from nervousness than from exercise. Then, from my right, I heard a voice say, “Turning the knob is not going to help anything. It is obviously broken.” With that statement said, the handle bars came off in my hands and I silently stopped, got off my bike, put the handle bars on the floor, and moved to another available and working bike.
What struck me as a leader about this experience is that sometimes we keep doing the same things all along expecting different results. But because we are on the front row, we don’t change direction, stop what is not working, ask for help, utilize other’s gifts and ideas, or get off the bike when it is obvious to everyone around us that the handlebars are falling off. Jesus said, “Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:16-17 NIV)
So often, we are pouring energy into ministries that have burst and the vitality has run dry. Or worse yet, the ministries are alive but we are the old wineskins that need to be replaced with new wineskins before the ministry dies. I am saying this for the benefit of God’s Kingdom, but more so, I am saying it because God wants to do something new in your life.
When I consider the words of Jesus in John 10:10: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”, I am personally challenged by the question, “how many moments of my ministry are filled with life?” Jesus describes this as a life where you are truly experiencing the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, not just going through the motions of programs and events. If you are not personally experiencing Jesus in your life and ministry than chances are, neither are the people that are participating.
Spend some time reflecting on Matthew 9:16-17 and Isaiah 42:9. What is God speaking to you through these Scriptures? Is He asking you to adjust your handle bars or is He asking you to get off the bike?
Angela is a wife, a mom, a friend. She serves as the Team Leader for the Northwest Ministry Network and is Minister to Women at Church on the Ridge. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry Leadership from Northwest University. As a Gallup Strengths Coach, she is passionate about helping people discover not only whose they are, but who they are. Nothing excites her more than teaching the Word of God and seeing it come alive as a fresh, vibrant inspiration for people to live out their God-potential in their daily lives. Angela has an amazingly supportive husband, Mark, and two boys who keep her life fun and real.