Executive Assistant and Strategic Initiatives Manager
Friends, Pastors, and Ministry Leaders,
I wonder how many of us are riding on the crazy-exhausting-crazy-emotional roller coaster that Carey Nieuwhof so skillfully described in a blog post I read earlier this week. Nieuhof answered the question, “Why is ministry so emotional for so many?” It combines three areas of life that are intensely personal: your faith, your work, and your community. He describes the confusion that happens because “what you do is what you believe, what you believe is what you do, and your friends are also the people you serve and lead.” Throw your family into the mix (because they are involved in both personal life and ministry) and bam – it’s even more confusing!
I wonder how many of us can relate.
My husband Ross and I lead and serve at Restoration Church, a 6-year-old church plant just between two of the hot zones for COVID-19, New York City and Philadelphia. During this global pandemic, we are raising 4 young kids, crisis-schooling 3 of the 4, while attempting to keep the toddler alive, and also leading a young congregation through historic multiple crises: a global pandemic, economic fallout, and issues of racial inequality and injustice coming to a breaking point in our country, while trying to figure out how and when to reopen our church building, and figuring out how to maintaining our online presence and community. (That is a run-on sentence on purpose because that is how all our brains feel right now!)
I also have the privilege to work with Converge MidAtlantic. I get to see a bigger picture of the Church, and I can say with confidence that ALL of us in ministry are being emotionally impacted by our personal lives, churches, and these times we are leading through. I’m listened to many of you from our Converge family share how challenging this season has been and continues to be on multiple levels. While we may present as though we are okay, most likely there are days, thanks to the crazy-emotional roller coaster, that we are not okay. Yesterday was one of those days for me, and I'm not sure I’m in the clear yet.
It struck me, as I was reflecting on Nieuhof’s article, that it is vital to our emotional sanity to cling to the truth of what the Lord says in response to Paul’s request for God to remove his ‘thorn in the flesh’:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
[I feel as though right now, as leaders, we are all on a level playing field operating from an admittedly weak state. I want us to take heart because it is THEN that we can truly respond like Paul:]
“Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12: 8-9
It is when we admit our weaknesses and reliance on God’s grace that the power of Christ will be made perfect in us. I don’t know about you, but right now as a leader in the Church, I desperately need the power of Christ to rest upon me! In the upside-down economy of God, maybe the most important thing we can admit right now is our weakness. Perhaps that is when the true power of Christ will make us strong. Here is my prayer for the leaders of Converge:
“Lord, may your power be more evident than any of our weaknesses as we struggle to find a way forward into an uncertain future. Through your power at work in us, please give us everything we need for leadership. We are asking you to provide the wisdom we need as leaders for our unique contexts and congregations and we pray for the restoration of our souls so that we can be men and women sharing the HOPE that comes from knowing You to a world that is lost without You.
Emily Manders, Executive Assistant and Strategic Initiatives Manager
Emily wears many roles on a day-to-day basis. She is Executive Director at Restoration Church in Levittown, PA. Also, she is the Executive Assistant and Strategic Initiatives Manager for Converge MidAtlantic.