Having served in my church’s performing arts ministry for just over three years, the single most important lesson I’ve learnt so far can be summed up in a few words my pastor shared with me right at our very first ministry meeting:

Learn to hold loosely to whatever you create.

The principle of holding loosely in such a ministry means that while we take pride in our work and do our best, we remain humble and gentle enough not to insist on our own way when an executive decision is made. We don’t have our feelings hurt.

We have instead the overarching perspective of furthering God’s kingdom – God’s way.


I’ll give you a hypothetical example: If I spent four days creating a video for a church event’s publicity and my pastor, after seeking God and sincerely chewing on the issue, decides the video just doesn’t work – that’s alright. I hold loosely. I let go.

I’m able to sacrifice my work, though it be precious to me, because I’m trusting that God’s purposes will be achieved in His way. Then I honour my leaders by submitting peaceably to the executive decisions made.

Of course, it would feel foolish and painful to make such sacrifices if the leadership is unwise or callous. While we believe the best of our leaders, we also need to be wise in managing the inevitable disappointments in our ministries.

We want a culture where we honour each other, and each other’s work.

So this culture of honour only works if it goes both ways. Those who lead have an obligation to make sure that their vision and instructions are clear, so that co-labourers in the ministry produce the right thing at the right time.

Any project will experience cuts and changes, but you never want to waste a person’s time by first being unclear or indecisive. Leaders shouldn’t treat the principle of holding loosely as a trump card to play so decisions can be made on whims and fancies. Things should only be scrapped outright as a last resort.

We want a culture where we honour each other, and each other’s work.


Having worked with my young adult pastor for a few years, our relationship has gone from co-labourers to friends. I can see his heart for God, and I know that his decisions are made on the basis of how best to serve the Kingdom.

That makes it very easy to trust and submit to his leadership.

For example, last year, I spent many hours making this one prop for the Good Friday play. It ended up not being used, and I was genuinely alright with that. Why? Because from the start I had the principle of holding loosely in my heart, and I have a similar baseline as my pastor.

All I care about is that it works – that the whole thing we’re doing is ultimately something of eternal value. And if it stings, I just remind myself of the principle behind Matthew 6:4-6. God rewards those who serve and seek him in secret.

“… Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:4-6)

In the times I serve God with that heart, I find that nothing is ever truly “wasted”. God sees all we do.

So hold loosely, put pride in your work, but don’t become prideful. It should never be about us or our work.

God alone knows if we are serving for fame or to further the Kingdom.

“And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:24)