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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Embarrassed (07/19/07)

TITLE: Ministering Solo
By Cathy Kane


I sat on the podium, heady with excitement, waiting to be introduced by the youth pastor of one of the largest, nondenominational congregations in the state. The church, which could accommodate several thousand people, was packed with teenagers and youth workers from all over the southwest. I had been asked to share my successful methods of reaching the younger generation for Christ.

“Piece of cake. I could do this in my sleep,” I said confidently to myself, as I glanced around the church. “I have really made the big time.”

I saw several members of my own youth group, Caleb’s Company, smiling at me enthusiastically. I smiled back, giving them a wink and a thumb’s up.

“Don’t forget that we’re stopping for pizza on the way home,” I signaled telepathically, sure that these teens, who I knew so well, could read my mind. They could already read my heart. They knew that I really cared about their lives.

As I sat listening to the special music presentation, I found my thoughts drifting back to the circumstances that had brought me to this place and time. After all, it was only a few years since I had become a born-again Christian. And while I was surrounded by seminary groomed youth ministers, I was virtually self taught. I liked to think that I had been chosen by God, taught by the Holy Spirit and a graduate of the same seminary that the apostles, Peter and John, had attended. That was a popular saying in those days.

At the bleakest moment of my twenty-seven years, I had accepted the Lord at home one night while watching a television evangelist. The next day, I had purchased a Bible and began to read and study, voraciously. It took me a year to find the right church.

With a pure heart and the zeal of a new believer, I had looked around for a ministry. In our relatively small congregation, I saw a handful of kids that looked like they could use some direction. After getting the approval of my Pastor, I announced one Sunday that I would be taking all interested children on a field trip the following weekend.

“The Church will provide lunch and transportation,” I spoke in faith, having every confidence that the Lord would provide these needs.

Thirty kids showed up for the field trip and “King’s Kids” was born. Before long, over a hundred children were hanging around the church on a regular basis. I visited the local orphanage and offered to fetch their young residents for Sunday morning services. Soon, the church had to buy a van and then, a bus, to accommodate all those who wanted to come to children’s church and the weekly fun activities.

The little kids started bringing their older brothers and sisters. Right away, I discovered an affinity with the pre-teen and teenage crowd. The church added two more worship services on Sunday mornings, one for junior high and one for high school. The youth began to outnumber the adults in attendance. Before long, I was offered a full-time position at the church and started to put together a volunteer staff.

Since I was young and single, I worked sixteen to eighteen hour days. Soon, I was invited to do Bible studies at the county juvenile detention center and the youth shelter for runaway teens. I published three newsletters a month, one for each age group in my ever-expanding ministry. Although I now had regular assistants, I continued to teach on Sunday mornings and personally conduct the activities of all three groups.

As our church’s phenomenal success with children and youth became known, speaking invitations began to pour in and here I was, with a top notch ministry opportunity.

As I was introduced, I shook hands with my host and stood proudly at the podium. Accustomed to speaking extemporaneously, I had not brought along a single note. I was depending on the Holy Spirit to help me bring a dynamic, inspiring message.

I opened my mouth to speak, but found myself at a complete and total loss for words. I suddenly realized that while building my “big” ministry, I had lost the Holy Spirit - probably on a water slide somewhere or possibly, at a Christian rock concert.

Totally embarrassed, I stumbled through a disjointed message. The Lord, however, was profoundly eloquent as He dealt with my heart on the error of my ways.

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This article has been read 586 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Cartwright07/26/07
Isn't it wonderful though that the Lord knows how to humble without humiliating. Your disjointed message could still be used and provided no hindrance to the Holy Spirit's ability to touch a heart.
Myrna Noyes07/27/07
Wow! What an awesome ministry the MC was blessed to have been given, and what a humbling but loving message God showed him at the podium that day.

I know that it's all too easy to get so caught up in what we're doing for God that it becomes our ministry instead of His! He loves us enough to get our attention about it, though, and reminds us how much we need Him! :)

This piece is a wonderful testimony to all of us to be careful to guard our personal relationship with God in the midst of all our work. Great writing! :)
Pamela Kliewer07/27/07
This spoke volumes of our need to constantly rely on the Lord and not our own strength. Good job.
Dianne Janak07/28/07
I am in awe of how God has opened doors in your life to minister to the youth. I also know ( from experience) how easy it is to rely on me instead of Him. And always, there is a story. Huge lessons for all of us who read this ( even about writing success) to be reminded that our ministries are not ours but His. My stomach turned knots with you but I know it was probably wonderful for your kids to see you vulnerable. GOOD writing... I loved it!
dub W07/29/07
Loved the last lines. This is a strong message. The parallels were strong - gained faith on television, lost faith direction on a water slide. Solid writing.
Loren T. Lowery07/30/07
Your title speaks volumes. This is a wonderful testimony and its truth will speak to many hearts. I think God allows us these awkward, embarrassing moments to teach and show us just how "empty" and hollow without Him being within us at all times. Great writing, Great story.
Joanne Sher 07/30/07
Excellent - wish you'd had more time to explore at the end, but I can't tell you what I would cut in the middle to give you the words! Enjoyed this very much.
Catrina Bradley 07/30/07
Power and fame are fearsome enemies. Great job telling this testimony. I thought it ended too soon, but it could be that I just wanted to read and know more. :) Awesome!
Kristen Hester07/31/07
Ouch! What a painful but important lesson. Good job. Your writing flows well and keeps the reader interested. Great!
Sheri Gordon07/31/07
A very good message -- and well written. This is a great picture of how easily "we" can begin to take credit for "our" accomplishments -- and forget to give God the glory. I like this take on the topic -- good job.
Jan Ackerson 07/31/07
Wow--the last two paragraphs, together with the title, are stunners! Great job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/01/07
This message is clearly and excellently presented. In my devotions I've been reading in Chronicles and have been observing how while the kings of Judah depended on God, they were successful, but when they got proud and self-dependent, they lost His help. This story shows that same thing so well.
Sara Harricharan 08/01/07
You certainly take us on a ride here, we rush through this along with your MC to find ourselves at the microphone too...with no words. Nice job here. ^_^
Joanne Sher 08/03/07
Congratulations, Cathy. Your entry has placed 14th in Level 2. Well Done! The Lists for the Top 15 in each Level and the Top 40 overall is available in the Weekly Results and Highest Rankings forum of our Faithwriters Message Boards.