Some time ago, God called me out of a ministry that I had been deeply involved in for years. Entirely ripped from my comfort zone, I was confused and felt deprived from any semblance of the community I had been so deeply invested in. God had called me into an uncomfortable new season that I adamantly questioned and resisted. From my perspective at that time, a rug had been pulled out from underneath me and the world flipped upside down. What I couldn’t see then was that God had been faithfully and powerfully moving—not only in my life but in lives of others as well.
It was in this time of trial that I turned to stories of perseverance in Scripture. Noah spent 120 years being mocked and chided by haters, Moses faithfully led the Israelites through the wilderness for 40 years, and Paul’s 30 year ministry was riddled with struggle and hardship. Though times were certainly not easy, they each had their gaze fixed upon the promise God gave to them—the same guarantee that He gives to us. He will strengthen, help, and uphold us with His righteous right hand because He is by our side (Isaiah 41:10).
Noah, Moses, and Paul all had the kind of perseverance that is laid out in James 1:12, which reads, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that The Lord has promised to those who love him.” These men boldly led and faithfully walked in whatever situations God had given them, even when it was tough! They had confidence knowing that God was faithful to see them through and to uphold his promises. There were plenty of times where it must have felt that God had abandoned them, but the reassurance of His promise gave them hope to continue on.
Let’s all just be honest and admit there are plenty of times, as leaders, where it feels like we are the ones walking through the wilderness as we are serving. For you, this past Sunday may have just been your church’s lowest week of attendance. Maybe your last great design concept didn’t go over too well. Or possibly you are at the point of questioning whether or not to continue doing whatever it is you do. It’s easy to feel discouraged and filled with doubt, like the season that you’re currently in is the very last place you should be. We have all been there at one time or another. Just know that God’s got a purpose for that season, and it’s our job as leaders to faithfully endure through those times.
Pete Miller, a writer for ShareFaith, articulated that “Perseverance is not limited to maneuvering through crises or disaster, but enduring the day-to-day faithfulness to get up and do what is needed, regardless of obstacles." This means that we need to turn in prayer to the Lord for perseverance through the low attendance Sundays, tough discussions in the office, and whatever else tries to stand in our way. Nothing is too large or too small for our God.
The Lord has called you to this very place right now—whatever that may be—for a divine reason. That reason may make absolutely no sense at the moment, but He has raised you up for this very purpose so that you will display His power and proclaim His name (Exodus 9:16). What you are doing is important and you are valued. You may never see all the fruit born from your faithfulness, but know that it is all for the advancement of His kingdom and you are making an impact in the lives around you. Through each season, God is using you to display His glory and He is by your side giving you the strength to persevere through faith in Him.
Because of God’s love for us, we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37)! You can absolutely make it through these times—whether a slump, disaster, or celebration—because the Spirit of God doesn’t equip us to be timid, but through love and discipline He gives us the power to endure (2 Timothy 1:7).
Stand strong and persevere; God’s doing incredible things through you.
Matt Higgins serves as the Production Director at Next Level Church, where he oversees production and production leads at all locations. As part of his responsibilities on NLC's Creative Team, he assists in planning nearly every aspect of the weekend experience and exercises problem-solving skills to ensure excellent production across all eight NLC locations. A recent graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, Matt is also a talented graphic designer and singer/songwriter. He currently lives in Strafford, NH.