noun 1. the act or power of resisting, opposing, or withstanding.
Does this picture represent you? When you look at the meaning of resistance, do you think about someone at work? Or your relationship? Something inside of you that longs to do something else? How about exercise?
Resistance can have negative consequences. But, it can also bear great fruit.
You have a great opportunity to bear great fruit because of the resistance around you.
Think about when you exercise, or when you used to exercise. You had to work hard to get results, right?
You intentionally tore down your muscles so that they could then repair, regenerate and grow stronger.
That’s resistance exercise.
Well, let me see if I can build a bridge to resistance in the church and orphan care ministries.
There is constant resistance in our world. We all put our armor on at times. It may be for protection or intimidation. It may be for comfort or for vanity. Whatever the reason, we all face resistance in our own way.
So, where do we find resistance surrounding orphan care ministries? Let’s identify a few with the intent of providing solutions.
1. Pastors/church staff – They generally have a lot on their plate already, like all of us, and it makes it hard to take on a “new” thing. And, the task can be confusing to them. They may need some gentle direction. Think about how many different needs are represented in the church. We ask our pastors/staff to be experts in everything. You can see how they may have an initial resistance to a new orphan care ministry.
2. Church member – There can be a resistance to change or letting go of personal preferences. Often times, church members are running orphan care ministries on their own because of that resistance they feel from their church leaders. You can see here, too, why they would be moving ahead in ministry on their own, but not without a little chip on the ole’ shoulder. You can imagine that when the church leaders are ready to move, that church member doesn’t just want to hand over the ministry. After all, it’s been his/her blood, sweat and tears that have held it together.
3. Power hungry laity – People that find themselves in power at a church can tend to resist change if it’s not their idea. For many churches, people that are in power were put there for a reason. They probably have natural leadership skills. But, at some point, those leadership skills began to dominate meetings and issues. And, the resistance was caused internally but no one would say anything. So, now when the orphan care ministry comes up for a vote, the power hungry laity questions everything about it because it wasn’t their idea, another way of putting out the flames of a great potential ministry opportunity. And, another way to hurt the cause of orphan care and the cause of Christ.
4. Human Service workers (Government)– There can be a resistance to work with churches to help care for the foster children in the county. Think about the excessive rules that government workers have to live under and you will understand the resistance.
OK, we know there is resistance. So, what can we do about it?
First, we need to acknowledge that resistance is actually a good thing.
It’s actually the thing that keeps most people in life at the same place in life. No, that’s not good, I know. But, the people who have pushed through that resistance are often times the very ones who have benefited the most. You get stronger. You grow. You don’t stay the same and people around you are better off.
Here is what we do about that resistance:
1. Pastors/church staff – They need to be educated/equipped to lead the ministry, allowing them to fit an orphan care strategy into the overall vision of the church. This gives them the confidence to lead out. They don’t need rogue ministries doing their own thing. This makes them understandably nervous. By allowing them to align an orphan care strategy within the church’s vision, it brings unity and focus. It releases the resistance and produces growth. That’s a win for the church and for the child.
2. Church member – They may have started an orphan care ministry without the approval of the pastor/staff (because the staff didn’t want to take the lead), or with the wink of “go for it, but you are on your own”. Much like a marital relationship, the church member can push, push, push or he/she can prayerfully move forward in humility (which is very attractive). Being open to aligning your vision to the church’s vision is the first step to a hugely successful orphan care ministry at your church. Push through the resistance and watch everyone grow and become the unified, healthy Body that God intended our churches to be. That’s a win for the church and the child.
3. Power Hungry Laity – Your church needs a team player. Jesus told us to be servants first. If we want to be “first” in the Kingdom of Heaven, we must be the last. That means putting all of your selfish desires on the shelf and fighting for the good of the children. Think about their benefit first in everything you do. Listen to other leaders in the church who may not speak out as much. People need to be heard. This will help release your own resistance to change and concentrate on the health and good of others you are serving and serving with. That becomes a win for the church and the child.
4. Human Service workers (Government) – They often resist because they are in a confusing culture of political correctness and they are being stretched beyond capacity on incredibly shrinking budgets. The best way to combat that resistance is by loving and serving them. How many ways can you freely show the employees at your DFACS office or HHS office that you care about what they are doing and how they are helping the children in your county? There are a lot of ways. They need the church. By the way, that would be a win for the church and the child.
When you feel resistance in your life, you can withstand or oppose change, or you can make the necessary changes that will benefit the church and the child. I vote for that!
Now let’s go do it!Steve Gillis Founder | Executive Director www.patchourplanet.org