Experiencing Ministry Opportunity in a Season of Opposition

Posted by Aaron Buer on October 7, 2021

I wonder if this season of ministry feels like an uphill climb for you.

I wonder if you were thinking things this fall might start to feel more like they did before COVID.

Perhaps you were hoping all of the challenges, resistance, and opposition we’ve been experiencing this past year and a half would disappear. I know I was.  

How are we supposed to do effective ministry when it feels like there is significant opposition around every corner?  

I bumped into something this week from Paul’s ministry in Ephesus that you might find challenging and encouraging.

The Open Door

While he was ministering in the city of Ephesus, Paul wrote to a Jesus community that he had helped establish in the city of Corinth, just across the Aegean to the west.

The Corinthian believers were hoping Paul would visit them soon.

In response, he wrote these words:  

…I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.

1 Corinthians 16:8-9

Paul has a huge door for effective ministry open to him.

Open_door

For two years, he has access to the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

Day after day he’s able to teach the way of Jesus and people are showing up to listen, placing their faith in Christ, and joining the growing Jesus community there. It’s a great door for effective work. Awesome!

The Opposition

Paul then goes on to say,

“…and there are many who oppose me”

Not “but.” It’s “and.”

At the same time, there are many who are opposing Paul.

After three months of teaching in the synagogue, he left because there were people who were “publicly maligning The Way.”

It’s almost as if someone started a social media campaign against Paul and his ministry.

ProtestThis comes from Acts 19, which was written by Luke, about Paul.

Here’s how Paul described the opposition he was experiencing in Ephesus in his own words:

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.  2 Corinthians 2:8-9


Opportunity and Opposition

It feels like, at some point, Paul and his companions were saying, “I don’t think we’re getting out of this one alive.” This was real and significant opposition.

There was both a huge opportunity for ministry and intense opposition, all at the same time, in the same package deal. 

So often, when it’s working, when it’s easy, when everyone is cheering we think, “God has opened a door!”

But, if it’s hard, if it’s exhausting, if there are resistors and opponents, we think, “Maybe God has closed the door.” Maybe.

Sometimes it’s opportunity and opposition at the same time.  

good and badHere’s my point: What if your greatest opportunity for effective ministry is also your greatest season of opposition and resistance?  

  • What if this is the most profound season of leadership growth you will ever experience because of all the ambiguity and frustration?  
  • What if, during this battle with cancer, you experience a powerful season of spiritual growth because of the pressure and strain?  
  • What if the American church will thrive like never before precisely because of the increased cultural opposition?  

It’s opportunity and opposition together.

Wrap Up

I wonder if you are thinking about tapping out?

Maybe you’re contemplating walking away.

I get it—this season is exhausting on so many levels. Please don’t.  

Paul experienced the breakthrough he was hoping for in Ephesus because of his endurance and persistence.

I wonder if the same might be true for you. 

Topics: Advice

View More Posts from Breeze
all-features

Looking for easy software to help manage your church?

We'd love to show you what we built!

Start an Instant Demo Learn More

Join our 9,000+ happy churches using Breeze.

Reviewer Image

Easiest System for our Small ministry!

I cannot say enough about Breeze. Their customer service is so friendly, you feel like you have friends and family helping you get started, they're prompt to reply and will do whatever they can to help you get things sorted out. It's been so easy to learn, our staff is loving it and best of all even our staff who are not computer savvy find it a breeze (pun intended). We are just thrilled by our choice.

Allicia B.
Ellel Ministries Canada