Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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When You Don't Know What to Do

  • Jim Townsley
  • Dec 29, 2014
There will be many times during a pastors' tenure that he will not know what to do. He may not know how to lead his church to the next level, or he  may not know what to do about a particular problem in the church, or he may not know what to do as he faces a specific trial. Over time there will be many situations where a church planter will be uncertain about his next step. Where does he turn and what does he do in uncertain circumstances?
Many preachers have faced times that it seemed the church would not grow or the offerings were not enough to meet the needs. Problems can develop quickly and last for extended periods of time and sometimes it seems there is no end in sight. Some of these problems may be family issues that can be devastating while others may be strictly related to the church, but nonetheless are serious issues. These circumstances and trials of church planting result in times of uncertainty and result in the question, "What do you do when you don't know what to do?"
The first thing to do when you don't know what to do is, don't run from the will of God and the responsibility He has given you! Perhaps the most important decision to make when you don't know what to do is to keep doing what you are doing and keep doing what you know is right. Don't change anything unless God clearly reveals to you a new direction. Some of the biggest regrets of the ministry are running from responsibility when trials come. Staying put and facing the problems is some of the best advice a new church planter can follow.
            Secondly, pray. So often people say, "well I just don't know what else I can do, I guess I'll just have to pray." Prayer should not be a  last resort, but a first choice. Prayer is often neglected while we try to work things out on our own. D. L. Moody said, "Our biggest failures are prayer failures." Getting alone with God for extended times is often necessary to face giant problems. Covenanting together with your wife or another godly church member is a virtuous method to victory. I'll never forget, as a young preacher, the example of a country pastor early each morning crawling on his hands and knees through the church pews praying for each family. I saw with my own eyes rugged men standing, giving their testimony of salvation due to the prayers of that man. Prayer is not a last option, but a first opportunity to reach the portals of Heaven and hear from God. "Prayer is weakness leaning on omnipotence." W. S. Bowden
Thirdly, you must learn to depend on God to do what you cannot do. There is no shame in facing trials and not knowing how to handle them. God uses weak men. The late Lester Roloff stated, "You can't be too small for God, but you can be too big." God can use times of uncertainty to learn to trust Him. This truth is found throughout Scripture.  The children of Israel stood before the Red Sea with the Egyptians closing in behind them. "And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever." -- Exodus 14:13  Standing still is one of the most difficult Christian virtues, but it is also one of the most rewarding. Many times we would miss the blessing that is to come if we ran from problems. We must give God time to work a miracle. We serve a great God, but we must allow Him to work in His own time, trusting that He knows what is best and when is best.
At the end of a preacher's ministry he can look back with no regrets when he has faced his trials by depending upon God. May God give us the backbone to face our trials, pray, and depend upon God.