In Lead more gently/ Purpose

Where to find courage when facing a task much bigger than yourself

I was recently thinking back to when Helping Hands In Africa was one pot of soup and 40 children.  Now we are a multiple staff, multiple country ministry serving thousands of beneficiaries.   The enormity of what we do on a daily basis can be quite scary sometimes.

This fear brings me to my knees seeking courage to face the task that is clearly much bigger than myself.

In order to rest in God’s peace and allow the awesomeness of where we are as a ministry to inspire me rather than make me fearful, I need courage.

So, where do I find this courage?


  • I find courage when I am quiet and still before God. ( In body and in mind)
  • Or, sometimes when my courage fails me, I walk in one of our villages and see the devastation of AIDS.  A deep anger rises up and I find my courage.
  • And I find an enormous source of courage in the team that God has surrounded me with in ministry.

It has been my observation that God has this tendency to give us tasks that are way bigger than ourselves.  I believe He wants us to learn to:

  • be courageous
  • lean on Him first and foremost
  • lean on others
  • allow others to safely lean on us

Nowadays, when recruiting staff, all sorts of fancy words are used to attract people to a job.  But in days gone by the simple phrase “HELP WANTED” was posted.  I think a great two-word job description is “just help”.

Each time Helping Hands In Africa has added staff it is because we needed help… and that is exactly what we got.  Our team is willing to help with whatever it takes.  They are more than employees, they are helpers.  Helpers of:

  • our ministry and
  • helpers of each other.

That gives me tremendous courage because as Senior Missions Pastor,  I don’t have all the answers.  In fact, I don’t even know all the questions.  But with the kind of helpers we have on our team of staff, volunteers and partners,  I am confident that

  • we will ask the hard questions and
  • together set about finding the right answers.

And that gives me courage – the fact that we set out together, as a team.

When we are faced with a task much bigger than ourself,  it is normal and,  in fact, very likely that we will feel afraid.  It takes courage to overcome that fear.    And yes, God uses a number of ways to help us find courage.

For me, one of the places I find  courage is in the team God has sent my way.   To my delight and immense satisfaction I have discovered that as I support and help the team it gives them courage which results in them supporting and helping me, which gives me courage –   thus both completing and starting the cycle all over again.

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Question: Where do you find courage when facing a task much bigger than yourself? Enter into the discussion by leaving a comment below.


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  • Reply
    Jerry Houston

    “Courage is being afraid and saddling up anyway,” is a sign my wife, Julie, keeps on her desk. a constant reminder that we must move forward.

    As a member of a small, young mission Church in Surprise, Arizona, USA We have become accustomed to doing a lot with a little, however, we know that God has much bigger plans for Desert Streams Lutheran Church than our small congregation can accomplish. He invites us to a new relationship with Christ, a deeper relationship in Christ and Spirit filled service for Christ, as our mission statement goes. In order to meet this mission we must go boldly forward with a very ambitious plan to build a large worship/community center on our land, in order to invite more to worship that do not know Christ as their savior and to be in service to our fellow man, wherever in the world we need to be. Our people have displayed amazing courage to take on this seemingly impossible task through substantial capital caampaign pledging and by continuing to press forward in service to others, irrespective of our challenges of space and resources. Courage is saddling up anyway when you are afraid.


    • Reply
      Michelle Tessendorf

      I love the sign your wife has on her desk! Courage is definitely not being fearless but rather doing stuff despite our fears. Thanks Jerry.

  • Reply
    Deborah Johnson

    I guess I do not look at the enormity of the task but the vastness of our God. I realize that God will never give me more than I can handle and then he only gives me this moment to do what I can in it.

    I look back at the job He gave the eleven to go and make disciples of all the nations but He also said where to start, first right in their own neighborhood one person at a time and leave the rest to God because it is God alone who gives the increase.

    It is God alone who gives us the courage, strength and vision and the knowledge that He is right there in it ALL. If my eyes are on my abilities then I have really missed the mark from the get go.

    • Reply
      Michelle Tessendorf

      Yup, the idea certainly is to not look to ourselves and our own abilities.

  • Reply
    Michael Dahl

    As I read this the word “Encouragement” popped into my head. It has “courage” in it.
    We do gain courage by/through those around us who encourage us. Maybe that’s the importance of the team?
    Thanks for your encouragement with todays blog.

    • Reply
      Michelle Tessendorf

      Isn’t it amazing how our team mates gain or loose courage based on how we encourage or discourage them (and they us!)

  • Reply
    Mary N

    Read this one right on time. My husband and I recently took on the task of having 4 family members move in with us that have no where else to go and it is a bit daunting. Found myself falling asleep last night wondering what we have gotten ourselves into? Trying not to feel overwhelmed by it all but learning to continually trust in God who is so much bigger than any situation. Really trying to let him give us strength and courage to continue on. Thank you for your blog as I am sure it speaks to many at just the right times.

    • Reply
      Michelle Tessendorf

      Mary, I have just said a prayer for you that the Lord will strengthen you for the task ahead and give you peace and joy as you obey Him.

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