Pastors’ wives (PW) and women in ministry are incredible sources of wisdom and creativity as they use their gifts in leadership and service. I highly value their insight, faithfulness, and diligent labor. That’s why I’m hosting Wednesdays Are for Women. Each week, we’ll hear from a different PW or ministry leader and gain her perspective on God’s activity on her ministry team, her local church, or the issues facing church leaders today.
Today, we’ll hear from Lori McDaniel from Grace Point Church Church, in Bentonville, AR. Today, Lori shares what happened when she cancelled Christmas…..at church.
I Canceled Christmas
I’ve made some big decisions in my life: The day we sold everything and moved to Africa, the day we decided to plant a new church in America, and last week when I canceled our biggest Women’s event at our church.
I canceled our biggest women’s event at church!
Yes, I just repeated myself. I HAVE to say it twice; once for each ear to hear it so that it will sink into my head. I never quit anything! I’m allergic to failure. I hate how it feels. I hate how I think it makes me look as a leader. Our Women’s Christmas event has been our biggest “missional” and “attractional” event for 10 years. Women invite their Hindu, Mormon, and unchurched friends. It’s so big that the day I canceled it I received a text that asked, “Did I hear that you just canceled Christmas?”
Yes, I canceled Christmas! Or at least as our volunteer-led women’s ministry has known it. I delegated the event out this year. The team was great! Week after week, though, they seemed to have setbacks. The final blow came when the team leader’s child was airlifted to a hospital for surgery.
The event fell back to my already over-crowded self. I’m gifted at last-minute situations, so I shifted gears and put the pedal to the metal. I gathered the team in emergency mode, and we all agreed we could make it happen.
But, everyone was OVERwhelmed! TOO overwhelmed.
So, when is it okay to cancel? There were some very pronounced echoes in my heart that led to my decision.
1. When you are living and leading others to live contrary to what you’re teaching,..Cancel. We crave simplicity. Rarely do we have the courage to make it happen. We were encouraging our people to find balance. But, by example I was a leading volunteers to be in insanity-over-drive-mode. One of the team members said, “I’ve been so busy I haven’t spent time with God in two weeks!” There’s something ungodly operating at a high-paced lifestyle and leading others to do the same.
2. When you are using talent or title to “make something happen,”…Cancel. I have no doubt that we could have “made it happen” with 100% excellence! People would have left inspired saying, “That was so awesome.” King Saul had the knowledge to offer the sacrifice, but it wasn’t God ordained. King Uzziah had authority to enter the Holy Place, but it wasn’t for him to do. Using talent or title to “make it happen” does not make God a part of it.
3. When the long-term vision is getting sacrificed for the short-term,…Cancel. We have felt God leading us toward a new way of doing ministry. When this event landed on my already over-loaded schedule, all the long-term vision went out the door for a short-term event.
4. When there is no peace,…Cancel. You can’t fake or manufacture peace. You can however do ministry without it, but it is emotionally and mentally exhausting.
I realize I’m writing this in a day of “get a vision, set goals, and move out full force by faith.” And we should. However, I recently learned that sometimes:
It takes MORE FAITH TO CANCEL an event then it does to make it happen.
Lori and her husband, Mike, along with their 3 children, have ministered in small town churches, served as IMB missionaries in Africa, and planted a church where they currently live in Bentonville, AR. She leads women’s ministry at Grace Point Church.