Saturday, February 8, 2014

From Burnout to Breakthrough

We received a request to bring the Gospel to the Okemos Public Schools in an after school program.  Sixty-five percent of our congregation serves on the mission field in some way. When I brought the request before the people, cries of burnout were sincerely lifted.  Tenderly, I placed Okemos outreach on the "maybe one day" stack because, to avoid burnout, I often say "no" to incredible opportunities.  A "no" to good work makes room for a "yes" to the great work of prayer.

Okemos Bible Time Program
In prayer, the Lord brought me back to the vision "to see all peoples of the world know, worship and grow (KWaG) as disciples of Jesus Christ."  The Spirit whispered that outreach in Okemos wasn't for the congregation our solicitor found.  The Okemos opportunity was meant to confirm God's ability to bring us to "see all peoples know, worship and grow (KWaG)".  To accomplish our goal, we had to become a different group of servants.

I became a different kind of servant when I acknowledged the congregational burnout issue before telling the person inviting us to Okemos "yes".  Out on a limb, with no one really backing me and more questions than answers, I returned to prayer.  I needed encouragement from the invisible God, dangling a vision statement before me, compelling me to say 
"yes" to something seeming impossible.
After School Worship Experience
Encouragement came when I began enduring in God's assignment for me.  The congregation saw me travailing and one by one, came alongside and told me they were with me.  Students from Michigan State University heard about the way vision was bringing me to questions I couldn't answer and provided perspective.  Principals in three schools offered space for the program.  Donors caught the vision and supported financially.  The Michigan State Police gave us unlimited access to their database for background checks on volunteers.  A Lansing church, the pastor of which I still don't know, hosted our planning meetings.  The public schools handled publicity.  A godly parent stepped up to serve as the logistician.  Curricula, audio / visual resources and a wifi connection appeared.  A teaching team grew large enough to give a 1:3 ratio, teacher to student.  Transportation, snacks and advertising all materialized from a congregation concerned about burnout.

Children and teachers in worship
We are not burned out.  We are burning inside with the fire of the Holy Spirit.  The God of endurance and encouragement is granting us the opportunity to live in harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus.  Children are hearing the Gospel because Jesus is changing us into the congregation we are to become.

""May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus..." Romans 15:5


  1. What a wonderful testimony and experience when prayer precedes and we wait upon God to watch the doors & windows open and to experience God working out all the details perfectly as only He can!

    1. The Lord continues to answer prayer in unexpected ways. Yours is the first post to which I'm responding. Seeing your words is an answer to prayer. Thank you for the encouragement, Debbie!