Speaking at the Transforming the Bay with Christ (TBC) Large Group Gathering at Westgate Church in San Jose, CA, pastor and author Dr. Dharius Daniels offered Biblical encouragement to pastors and ministry leaders combating feelings of inadequacy.
Dr. Daniels, founder and Senior Pastor of Kingdom Church in Ewing and Burlington, NJ, shared how he felt God calling him to serve in the ministry from the time he was a young child growing up in rural Mississippi. While working on his divinity degree at Princeton Theological Seminary as a young man, Daniels began attending an inner-city church in Trenton, NJ, where he was exposed to drugs, homelessness, and extreme poverty for the first time in his life.
Even more shocking to the young man was the dissonance between the needs of the community and the expression of ministry that the church was offering. This glaring issue within the church prompted the young man to dedicate his life to serving as a missionary to culture.
Today, Daniels is married with two young boys and leads a thriving church. The pastor admitted that while ministry work is very rewarding, it can also be a difficult and daunting task.
He examined Numbers 13:30-33, where Moses exhorts the Israelites to take possession of the land that the Lord promised them. However, intimidated by the strength and size of the enemy and his fortifications, the Israelites refused to enter the land: "we seemed like grasshoppers to ourselves and to them as well," they told Moses.
Daniels explained that this passage offers some helpful insight for those who are committed to advancing God's mission in the world: "This text exposes us to individuals who have been charged with the task of taking territory, exerting influence, and accomplishing God's agenda in a specific region."
While the Israelites were equipped with heavenly assistance and great leadership, they were unable to occupy what was available to them because they felt inadequate - they didn't have an issue with God, they had an issue with the way they viewed themselves.
"The inhibitor to their effectiveness contains a message that we cannot afford to miss," Daniels said. "They didn't lose to the giants - they lost to the grasshopper...They became overwhelmed by their assessment, and the giant opposition that they were facing impacted them to the degree that they began to wrestle with inadequacy," he said.
Throughout the Bible and still today, when God articulates his intentions for the lives of his people, they often respond with why they are inadequate for the task, the pastor said.
"I've learned there's a marriage between confidence and comfort zone," Daniels explained. "When life and when God's leading takes me out of my comfort zone, there are times I have to go back and make a U-turn and retrieve my confidence... The giants that we face can cloud us to the obstacles that we've already overcome."
So, how does on faithfully steward God's call for their life to make an impact on the specific region they are in despite feeling inadequate? Daniels encouraged listeners to understand that their sense of adequacy increase when they have a proper revelation of something called their "only-ness" - what separates them from every other entity and people group in culture.
"I think many of us will answer this question different ways," the pastor said, "For me, I believe that there is a cry of the human soul, there is a thirst that can only be quenched by the living water of God's presence, it is the satisfaction of the soul, a satisfaction that idols were unable to offer, a satisfaction that accomplishment is unable to offer, a satisfaction that influence and affluence and education is unable to offer. A place in the heart of humanity that is reserved specifically and exclusively for God, a God-box that only God can fit in, and if we are convinced of that, then it addresses our inadequacy."
The onlyness factor, the only thing that can give people what they're looking for, is God, the pastor emphasized: "That, church, is our advantage," he said. "That's the onlyness factor, that's our distinction."
The idea of "only-ness" shouldn't cultivate an attitude of arrogance; it should simply address our inadequacy, Daniels explained. If we are truly convinced that there is a loving, knowable God who wants Creation to experience His best for it, and has done everything that needs to be done through the person of Jesus Christ to make that a reality, then we, in turn, can be convincing to others.
"I'm convinced, you're convinced, and because we've been convinced, we can be convincing," he said. "As we live with that reality, may it be said of us, that 'these are them who turned the world upside-down.'"
The mission of TBC is to "catalyze a holistic gospel movement in the Bay Area that results in spiritual and societal transformation."
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