Have you ever noticed how each time you set out to do something, all of a sudden challenges and obstacles spring up like weed?
You plan to start exercising but suddenly develop knee pain. You want to start budgeting, but now you have another bill. Or you want to start an online ministry, but you can’t find the time to launch your project.
We asked several people what obstacles kept them from launching an online ministry. Here were the most common responses:
- I’m afraid I’ll be doing it for the ‘likes.’
- Not enough time.
- I won’t be able to keep up with all the updates.
- Lack of funds
- Lack of motivation
In this article, we’ll explore each of these challenges and find practical solutions.
Obstacle One: Doing online ministry it for the ‘Likes.’
This is a valid concern – you want your ministry to built on the desire to build God’s Kingdom rather than glorifying self. With any ministry, we run the risk of doing the work for the praises of men rather the honor of God. If this is not properly addressed, you will find yourself creating content just so you could garner more attention and positive engagement, rather than doing it for the Lord.
So how do we fight against the temptation to turn online ministry into a personal online red carpet?
Overcoming this challenge means that every day, you will have to be honest with yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to show you when your ministry is becoming more self-focused.
It’s a natural thing to want to be liked. On social media, this translates into getting more likes, shares, and engagement. Start Digital has this to say:
“That little rush you get when your post gets more likes than normal? There is a reason for that rush. Dopamine. For every “thumbs up” or “heart” we get a little psychological high through a shot of dopamine. The more likes the more shots. The more shots we have, the more shots we want. And we’re in a loop. Scientists used to think dopamine was responsible for pleasure in the brain, but we now know that rather than create pleasure it makes us seek it.”
But in ministry, a time will come when we have to speak an unpopular, “unlikeable” truth. Men and women of faith in the Bible did not receive many likes. The Lord calls us to a different kind of ministry; a ministry that garners more souls than likes.
Keep your heart in check with these steps:
- Turn off your notifications. When I make a post, I turn off the notifications so that I’m not constantly getting updates that my post is being liked or shared. That way, you can avoid the dopamine hit that you get from having notifications come in.
- Give God thanks for your ministry success. People will affirm your work and dedication. It’s ok to graciously accept affirmation and encouragement. At the same time, direct your praise to God. Sometimes you may verbalize it and other times you may do it silently in your heart. This is a good habit to develop as it helps remind you (and others) that God is responsible for any success.
Obstacle Two: Not Enough Time
This is perhaps the main reason many people are not able to launch their online projects. This is a struggle for me as well. Factor in work, family life, unexpected events, and the necessary things you need to do to keep yourself alive (like cooking, sleeping, exercising, etc.) it seems as though there’s little to no time left for ministry.
Here are two things you can do today to make more time for your online ministry:
- Swap out time wasters. Take a look at how you spend your downtime. Do you have an extra ten minutes? Instead of aimlessly scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed, use the time to start a new blog or video. How many movies do you watch per week? How much time do you spend on Netflix? By swapping out a movie (or movies) you would have at least an hour and a half to dedicate to ministry.
- Create a schedule. Set aside a specific time that you will give to ministry work. Stick to this time no matter what. Even if it’s one hour 3 days per week, that’s a great place to start. Treat your ministry as a priority (because it is!). Even if you start with a small amount of time, you’ll be surprised by how much you can get done.
Obstacle Three: Keeping up with Updates
The digital world evolves quickly. It seems as though before you have a chance to become faintly acquainted with an update or change, a new one is unveiled. If your ministry requires video, there’s a new gear of editing software out. If you blog, there are new writing tips, and if you’re involved in social media ministry…well, “that’s a whole ‘nother article.” The challenge to keep up with changes can be intimidating but it shouldn’t stop you from launching out! No one (not even the people creating the updates) can keep up with everything.
Here’s what you can do to beat the deluge of updates:
- Create a learning time in your schedule. This is a time frame (maybe just 20 minutes) dedicated to learning about what’s new in your area. During this time, read up on blogs or posts that give ideas on what you can do to improve your ministry skills.
- Subscribe to newsletters, podcasts, or YouTube channels. But signing up to newsletters or blogs related to your ministry’s platform, the updates will come to you directly (just make sure you read them). Don’t go overboard with this step. If you do, you will run the risk of getting overwhelmed with all the updates. Look at the time you have available for learning and determine how many subscriptions you can manage. Knowledge is power. The more knowledgable you are about the platform you are using, coupled with the Holy Spirit, your ministry will grow.
Obstacle Four: Not having the Funds
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t a lot of money or gadgets to launch an online ministry! Whether you have a small budget or no budget, you can take steps today to make your ministry dream a reality.
Take a look at startup ministry ideas that don’t need a budget:
- An online care group (Download a free video conferencing program)
- A social media page
- Facebook blog
- Sharing the content of other digital missionaries
- Inspirational Voice notes
Save money when starting a YouTube ministry
If you want to launch a YouTube ministry channel, start with what you have. Cellphones come with cameras and some are of great quality. You don’t have to break the bank to purchase expensive recording equipment when you’re just starting out.
Save money when starting a blog
If you are new to blogging, here are three economically friendly options:
- Use Facebook Notes. I know, this might seem a bit outdated but this is a great launching pad. By starting with Facebook Notes, you get a feel of what it’s like to blog on a consistent basis. This is a good test to determine whether you do want to commit to a blogging ministry. This platform also gives you the opportunity to know what it’s like to build an audience. You can easily share your content with readers and ask your circle of influence to pass on your work.
- Be a contributor to other blogs. Find a blog that’s already established and has a readership and send in your article for consideration. Seeing your article up on a blog can give you a boost of motivation to start your own blogging ministry or it may lead you to reconsider if another platform would work better for you. When I started blogging, I used Facebook notes and then started contributing to a popular Christian blog for women. It made me realize the amount of work it takes to become a blogger. Because of these experiences, I was able to evaluate my goals for ministry (and consider finances) before launching my own blog.
- Create a simple email list. Some people prefer to receive articles directly to their inbox rather than going to a website. Ask persons you think may be interested in reading your work to send you their email addresses. Every week (or however often you decide to send out a blog) distribute your article via email to your readers. As your email subscribers grow, you will want to sign up for an official email marketing service like Mailchimp or Aweber.
Get Support from Family and Friends
When others believe in the work that you do, they may be looking for an opportunity to financially support your mission. Consider setting up a Patreon account which will allow others to contribute on a regular basis.
Obstacle Five: Lack of Motivation
The solution to this problem is simple and yet complicated. Having a ‘WHY’ is the key if you want to stay motivated in this work. When you have a strong, Christ-built reason (your WHY) for wanting to launch your ministry, little can stop you from accomplishing your task.
But motivation doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it is inspired by something either extrinsic or intrinsic. Characters in the Bible had their own reasons why they did what they did. Let’s look at a few examples:
Jesus Christ – “…For the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross.” Hebrews 12:2
Paul the Apostle – “…the crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that great day…” 2 Timothy 4:8
Jochebed – “When she saw that he was a goodly child, she hid him for three months.” Exodus 2:2
Jesus was motivated to endure the cross because he was looking forward to the joy He would have with the Redeemed. Paul endured because His ultimate prize was in Heaven. Jochebed risked everything to save her son because his life was worth it.
When we realize that every soul is worth saving and that our reward is in Heaven, we’ll be motivated to serve online despite the obstacles and challenges we may face. That’s the greatest WHY anyone can have!
What’s Stopping You?
Can you relate to these challenges? Is there something else stopping you from launching your online ministry? Remember that the God you serve is powerful beyond imagination. He works with the impossible and invites us to ask Him for help.