Beating the Obstacle Course with a Smile

Why do we get so disappointed when things go poorly? I know why…we want them to go well. However, they will never always go well. We know this. Ministry is sometimes a cruise, sometime feels like a game (in the sense of having fun), sometimes a war, and often an obstacle course. Obstacle courses are what they are because…well…there are obstacles. I’ve found over the years the moment your church has momentum and an opportunity to take a big leap forward—opposition will come out of nowhere—or at least we think it’s out of nowhere.

Someone will try to sabotage something.

A staff member might begin to spin out.

Funds for ministry will dry up.

A couple of the church’s core families will take jobs in another state.

A crazy person (literally) will show up and disrupt the service in a hardly recoverable way.

You’ll get sick or injured.

Leadership suddenly can’t agreed on anything and grinds to a halt.

Or, all of it will happen at the same time—and then some.

Trust, me. It will happen. The more we expect it, the easier it is to deal with. If we think Satan will afford us an unimpeded, casual Mambo into the Promised Land—wake up! We are in a very real spiritual battle, which we win when we expect opposition—and God to give us the victory.

Expect things to go according to plan and you’ll spend your ministry feeling like you’re unlucky, you were robbed, or Satan keeps defeating you. You. Will. Get. Discouraged. That will only equip Satan to give you another beat down. Expect all hell to break loose when your church is on the move—and persevere through it as though it were an obstacle course. Go under, over, around or through whatever is put in front of you as the Spirit leads. As you do, you’ll witness to the beautiful truth that the Church is a movement against which the gates of hell cannot prevail…and you’ll smile as you do it.

Expect it.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Pastor of New Vintage Church in Escondido, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on numerous websites, including:, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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