03.19.12

Fear

Posted in Ancona, church, ministry, Newsletters at 10:49 am

You would think that moving overseas and learning a new language and watching your kids grow up in Italian schools and driving on curvy, narrow, Italian streets would be enough to purge all of the fear out of a person.

And if you think that, you would be wrong. Fear is a constant enemy, it’s something that the enemy uses to try and cripple the ministry here in Ancona.

Let me give you an example. I was working on the finances for our church for 2011. I was zooming out to try and get a look at the big picture. Where did our money come from? Where did it go? Where do we need to spend more / spend less in 2012? One observation was very clear: most of our funds came from foreign sources. Churches back in the US, individuals who love our church, and even us missionaries have given to keep up the payments on our church building.

Our biggest goal, the one that drives everything else, is to leave Ancona. We want to leave the church in the hands of the members that God has given us. We want to train leaders and trust the Holy Spirit to guide them in the same way He has guided us. Financially, however, we haven’t been doing a very good job.

No minister likes talking about money. No one (OK, maybe a few people) likes looking at spreadsheets. And no one, me especially, likes looking out at our church members – many of whom are un- or under-employed – and telling them that it is time to step up to the plate. It’s time to start giving not because the church needs the money, but because they need to give.

So I faced my fears … and was amazed at how I saw God moving. Our conversation last Wednesday night didn’t focus on euro signs and how to tighten the budget. It focused on how to have enough faith to give to God the first 10% and not the leftovers. It focused on the joy that is found when even our bank accounts are submitted to God’s will, and how freeing it is to remember that nothing physical is really ours anyway.

So I am slowly learning to face my fears. We can’t allow ourselves the luxury of not saying “the hard things” that need to be said. We can’t ignore opportunities to spread the Gospel for fear of what others would think. Because in many ways, the whole ministry is depending on it.

Until next month…