Dealing With Self-Doubt

In ministry, we want to minister from a place of confidence. Confidence in God, but also confidence in our own gifting’s and our ability to hear from God.

There is nothing more embarrassing, than to get up to speak in front of a group of people, when you not sure you even want to follow your own lead.

You may be speaking truth, but as soon as words come out of your mouth, people can tell that you lack confidence.

This is why “self-doubt” is one of the enemy’s most common tactics against leaders.

The tension between confidence and self-doubt has been a life-long journey for me.

I started in ministry when I was 20 years old, after graduating from Rhema Bible College in 1979.

During my time at Rhema I discovered a call to Kids Ministry sitting under the ministry of Willie George. Willie taught a class on Kids Ministry at Rhema and I could clearly sense the call of God pulling on my heart to get involved with Pastor Willie’s ministry to kids. As soon as I stepped out and obeyed God, confidence came.

One way that confidence comes is by hearing the voice of God and doing what God says.

After observing Pastor Willie for four weeks, he asked me to serve in the Pre-school class. Willie introduced me to the lead teacher, Jeanne Horn.  We had eighty 3, 4 and 5-year-olds in the Pre-school class and it seemed like pure chaos to me. On the first day I just watched. After class Jeanne gave me an assignment.

“I’d like you to take this film strip and re-write the story and tell it to the kids next week.”

(This was 1978, before computers, MP4’s, DVD’s and even before VHS. All we had were film strip projectors and these things called record players. You would put a piece of vinyl on the record player and that was how you got audio. When the record went “beep” you would manually turn the knob on film strip projector. We had great music in the 70’s, just not great technology.)

Jeanne asked me to re-write the story and tell the story live, while I turned the knob on the projector.  I was motivated. I spent about two hours re-writing the story and another hour memorizing it. I got to church at 7 am to set up the film strip projector. I was prepared. This was going to be good!

When it was time for my story Jeanne had all 80 kids sit on the floor facing the screen. About 30 seconds into the story, I started to lose the kids in the back and the “crowd noise” began to move slowly forward. I did not know how to stop and get the kids attention, so I just kept telling the story. Perhaps the ten kids in the front row were listening, but the rest were entertaining themselves.

At this point thoughts of self-doubt began to flood my mind.

“This is not good.”


“You stink at telling a story”

“Find a new ministry”

At the same time, I am trying to remember the story. I wanted to run away, but that might have been more embarrassing. I just kept turning the knob and telling the story as fast as I could.

My confidence was shattered. I thought I would be good at this, but at the moment, I thought, “I’m not.”

Jeanne approached me at the end of class.

I thought, “Oh no, here it comes.”

Surprisingly Jeanne smiled and said, “Oh, boy! You did so good!”

“I did?” was my response.

“Yes. I loved that you told the story from your heart.”

Instantly my confidence began to grow.

This is one thing about confidence. We can lend our confidence to other people and can help them get their own confidence.

I know I did not do a good job with that story that day, but Jeanne saw some potential in me and knew that what I needed right then was not correction, but encouragement.

Another way to build confidence when you are starting out is to hang around confident people who are good at what you want to be good at.

One thing I did when I was in Tulsa, was to asked Pastor Willie if I could sit in Kids Church and just watch him. Instead of going to the sanctuary at 9 am I watched Willie minister in Kids Church for 9 months. This was one of the smartest things I ever did.

When I became a Kids Pastor at a church in Michigan I did everything I saw Willie do and it worked like magic.  This helped my confidence. The kids in my class and their parents all thought I was a really good teacher.

Watching somebody who is really good at what they do, and then you do what they do, is the quickest way to build confidence at the start of your ministry. I’ve never understood why so many people in Kids Ministry launch out on their own when they don’t know what they are doing. You are setting yourself up for more self-doubt.

My advice to you:

  • Find a good mentor
  • Watch them for months
  • Ask them questions
  • Do what you saw them do
  • Grow in Confidence

Teach your kids and volunteers how to over come self-doubt and learn to be confident in God.

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