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Ministry Matters: Your Opposition Will Open Doors


“I don’t like what you’re doing.” The message of opposition marches boldly, and never so often or as direct as in the life of a ministry family.

It really shouldn’t surprise us, but it does. Opposition comes when we least expect it. In our years in ministry, my husband and I have often shaken our heads and thought, “Where did that come from?”  Satan loves to seize a positive moment and turn it upside down for himself. He is the actor behind opposition, and so he chooses to use…

A person who will hurt- because opposition often comes from unexpected sources.

A time that will hurt- because, though we expect it in a general sense, opposition often catches us off guard.

A place that will hurt- because opposition often happens in private.

The reality of ministry opposition is one of the top discussed issues among pastors’ wives. It’s also one of the most common requests for prayer that I receive in emails.

In life {especially ministry life} this is a road we will always walk. Satan never gets tired of fighting against those who are passionately serving Christ.

We can say the cliche phrases in hopes of cheering ourselves up. We can remind ourselves that “we must be doing something worthwhile if we are facing opposition.” At times we can even bravely pretend that we are exempt from it.

But deep down we know…that we can’t be in ministry and not face opposition. Really, it is impossible to be passionate, dedicated Christ followers and escape opposition.

But there’s good news for us- Someone walked that road before you and I did. Christ faced opposition from “they of His own household.” It hit close to home for Him, too. They didn’t understand His mission, His purpose, His Being. They didn’t share His passion or His heart. They didn’t cherish His Words. But if you study the different occasions of His opposition, it becomes clear that the opposition Christ faced actually shaped His earthly ministry.

There is a beauty in opposition that shines through the cloud that always initially dampens our spirits. Our dream is crushed by a naysayer, our vision is clouded by someone’s negative perspective, our energy is weakened by a critic. You’ve been there. So have I. And while we may initially walk away discouraged, the moment of opposition is a crucial point for ministry leaders.

Recently I read a fabulous quote by Alan Redpath:

“No test of leadership is more revealing than the test of opposition. Christian leaders can go to pieces under such pressure. Some grow too discouraged to continue. Others build walls around themselves and shoot murderously from behind them. They become embattled, embittered and vindictive. Not so Nehemiah. Nowhere does his leadership shine more brilliantly than in his handling of opposition.”

Do you have a few minutes to let that sink in? The moment of choice comes and we can choose to become discouraged long term, become defensive or bitter, and eventually useless. This is the choice that satan delights in.

The other choice is to do just as Nehemiah and “shine brilliantly,” retain our passion, and press forward into the direction in which we are confident God is leading us. People may not understand or support this endeavor, but this is the choice that God delights in.

As I look back on each instance of opposition in our personal ministry experiences, I see clear ways that God worked on our behalf and how He opened new ways and new ideas and most importantly, new relationships. This is the beauty and irony of God’s ways:

Opposition opens doors to new relationships and new opportunities.

A church member is balking at your husband’s new ideas?

A friend is no longer a friend and is now an enemy?

A woman complains constantly about what you do or don’t do?

Your best “yes” person is now a decided “no?”

You’ve been enduring difficult meetings that you feel will determine your future at your current ministry?

It feels like there are more people against you than for you?

You shared your dream, and it got crushed by a critic?

Open your eyes and look for open doors. “Because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.”  1 John 4:4

Rest in this. And then walk through that door- the door that only God can open. The door that wasn’t even there before. The door with a keyhole in the shape of opposition.


A Kindred Spirit

“These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

4 thoughts on “Ministry Matters: Your Opposition Will Open Doors

  1. Thanks for the words of encouragement! May was a month that the devil tried to control our ministry. Yes, we were discouraged, hurt and frustrated but the least we can do is not give him the victory of us quitting. God called us to our ministry for a reason. Struggles will happen but that is when our faith is challenged and increased.

    1. Crystal, I’m sorry you have faced opposition lately. I just know that you will see open doors soon because of it! I’m so blessed to know you and to call you friend for so many years! We need to get together now that we actually live in the same state again. 🙂

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