WHEN THINGS DON’T GO AS PLANNED
It is inevitable that in each of the seasons of ministry something will not go as planned. Often these are small hiccups in the whole of the season. However, there are times when things don’t go as planned and it changes everything about life, ministry, location, and/or role. Senders can play a vital role in caring for staff during these times.
Changes in ministry location or role beyond the staff’s control could be due to organizational changes, illness of a child or family member, governmental factors or persecution, a global pandemic, closed borders, marriage, death of a family member, loss of team members, and so much more. These are things that are unforeseen and are unable to truly be prepared for. Often these situations bring about a lot of hardship and questioning why God would allow this to happen. Some may feel frustrated and disappointed from unmet expectations. It can also cause staff to bring into question whether or not God actually called them to this ministry. Some may fear they are disappointing their supporters or worry that supporters will not want to continue supporting them because they are not doing the thing they told their supporters they would be doing.
Encourage your person to share these things with you. Each person needs a safe place to share their fears, missed expectations, and heartaches. Remind them that ultimately God is in control and trust that your person is seeking the Lord and still following His leading. Continue to invest in their lives and pray that God would make their path clear to them as they wait, change roles, change locations, or change careers.
As each situation will differ, so will the ways in which you can care for them. However, nothing can replace praying for them and being present in their lives, ready to help bear their burdens. When things don’t go as planned, remember that your staff didn’t ask for or desire the changed plans. However, they still desire to steward your generosity well and your support of them is an integral part of processing these changes and reestablishing their life and ministry.
Thoughts from our staff:
“We were encouraged when supporters responded to our changed plans with grace, rather than making us feel bad about it, or feeling like we had been deceptive (when it was out of our control). Honestly it was really refreshing when people said they trusted us.” —Ryan & Corrie, overseas field staff
Helpful truths and Scripture for this season:
*Reminding your person of God’s truth and promises is the best way to support and care for your person. As you pray and listen to them, ask God for His words to share with them. These are some helpful places to start.
- “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” —1 John 3:9
- “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” —Proverbs 19:21
- Psalm 23