When I took on new responsibilities several years
ago, I experienced those unsettling moments when
everything wasn’t working the way I thought they should. And my
poor husband would get an earful on our nightly walks. Finally, he
told me, “You need to understand that 30 percent of your job is
going to be icky — and just accept it.”
So I started expecting that one-third of my job could go wrong
because it was out of my control. And learning to accept the things
I couldn’t change helped me find peace (sounds a little like The
Serenity Prayer, doesn’t it?).
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So if you, like me, get frustrated when thing don’t go the way you
want them to, embrace the 30-percent rule and consider what you can
and cannot change.
You can deliver a creative lesson. You can’t
control how many kids show up or how many parents make church a
priority that weekend. You can’t even control whether kids’ lives
are changed for eternity (or even just for a moment). That’s up to
You can offer amazing training for your teachers.
However, you can’t control how many will forget to come even though
they rsvp’d on your Facebook page.
You can control what you think about someone who wrongs
you. You can’t control whether that person spreads nasty
rumors about you. Then again you can control going to that person
directly. You may not be able to control how you feel about the
situation, but you can control what you say about the person.
You can control your ministry’s policies and
procedures. However, you can’t control whether people
follow them. You can’t control when people disrespect you by taking
your equipment without asking or making a decision that was really
yours to make. But you can control what you do to their cars (just
You can’t control whether someone takes credit for an
amazing program you led. Or whether you lead in obscurity
week in and week out and no one seems to notice or affirm your
wonderful service. You can, though, take comfort in the fact that
God sees your sacrifices and holds them dear and tells you, “Well
done, good and faithful servant!”
Check out more of my smart husband’s advice on page 78 and his
photo on page 14 of the May/June 20011 issue of Children’s
Ministry Magazine. And, yes, that is a dirty hoodie on the
floor behind him in his photo — ahhh, the 30 percent!
In our next issue, find out how “fun and games”
could make kids feel unwelcome at your church.