Have you ever been at a point in your life where you were at a total loss? You are tired, frustrated, and confused. Nothing you do seems to go right. It is as if you are in a no-win situation. These feelings are often shared by those serving in ministry. You’ve tried everything. You had a great vision and dreamed of doing great things for God, yet, every time you attempt to promote that vision and pursue those dreams, you run into a brick wall. No one ever says, ‘yes, I’m on board, count me in.’ Instead it is always, ‘no’, or ‘I’ll wait and see if what you do is successful or not, then I’ll decide’. No one is willing to take a risk with you. Everyone is satisfied with the status quo. Such lack of encouragement and commitment squashes your vision. Now you find yourself at your wits end. You’ve lost the vision. You’ve lost the passion. You’ve lost the desire. You have no idea what to do.
The first thing you need to understand if you find yourself in such a situation is that you are not alone. There are many other believers that are just as tired and frustrated as you are. You also should consider that perhaps you are at a place where God wants you. Maybe He is trying to get your attention. Perhaps He has allowed the current situation to be in such a state that it causes you to surrender. Sometimes, God needs us to give up in order that He may show up. We have been drilled with the idea that we must have a vision and dream. But, have we ever stopped to think that God may not always want us to have a ‘vision.’? Maybe the only ‘vision’ He desires for us is Himself. Sometimes God will strip us completely. He will allow us to exhaust all of our energy and bring us to a point of total despair, in order that we may throw up our hands, give up, and turn to Him.
Perhaps, we have missed the mark when it comes to what it means to have a vision. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a firm believer in strategic planning and vision casting. You got to have a plan. You got to know where you are heading. You got to have a purpose and mission and a certain set of goals to fulfill that purpose and mission. However, the vision itself is not a means to an end. The vision is a person. It is the person of Jesus Christ. If we are not focused on Him, then there can be no vision. When we are at a place where we simply do not know what to do, perhaps, God is saying to us, ‘look at Me’.
So, you’ve tried everything. You have no vision. What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Let me give five things you can do when you don’t know what to do:
- Focus on Jesus.
Stop and think of all that Jesus has done for you. He created you. He gave you life. He gave you the gift of salvation. He died for you. Reflect on Jesus. Think about Jesus. Meditate on Jesus. Worship Jesus. Spend time with Jesus.
- Focus on the Word.
Often, those in the ministry will study the Word in order to share with others, but they neglect personal time in the Word. Nothing can ever replace having a Sabbath hour. Nothing can ever replace spending time in simple Bible reading and prayer each and every day.
- Focus on your family.
I believe that my first responsibility as a pastor is to shepherd my family. My wife and children comes before any ministry project, sermon, church event, hospital visit, etc. If I cannot pastor my family, how can I pastor the church? If you are a pastor and you find yourself in a situation where you do not know how to pastor the church you are in; you’ve worked hard, you’ve tried everything, nothing seems to work; turn your attention to your family. Spend time with your family. Pray with your family. Teach your family. While you are waiting on a vision, while you are waiting to know what to do; invest as much time into your family as possible.
- Focus on love.
As a pastor, there are seasons when you really don’t know what to do. No matter what you do, nobody responds. Your congregation is cold and indifferent. There is no passion and no excitement. The constant twisting of arms and pulling of teeth to get people to respond is taking its toll on you. You are confused and frustrated. You are in a no win situation. No matter what you do, nothing will work. There is one thing that will work, however. That one thing is love. Just love God and love people. Don’t worry about trying to win them over. Don’t worry about trying to get them to like you. Don’t worry about their spiritual deadness and complacency. Just love them. Love always wins out.
- Focus on prayer.
In all of your distress, whatever you do, don’t forget to pray. It may be that God has something special in store for you. Perhaps He will open a door and lead to a place where you will have a strong vision. Perhaps He will lead you to a point where you do know what to do. But, you will never get there, unless you pray. If you lack vision, pray. If you are frustrated, pray. If you need a change, pray. If you don’t know what to do, pray.
The answer to all of this is to simply ‘give up.’ Surrender completely and let God do what God does best. Let Him work in you and in the people you minister to. He knows what is best. He has a perfect plan just for you. Stay faithful. Focus on the things that matter most, and God will show you what to do when you don’t know what to do.