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  • Writer's pictureJessica-Ann Jenner

This is how I fight my battles!

I’ve just got back from a fantastic time away at the Hand in Hand Conference in Eastbourne. While I was there, God was speaking clearly about the power of unity and connection.  Children and Families ministry can feel like a lonely place at times, whether you are in a paid role or a volunteer, it can be a struggle balancing the things you need to manage yourself and recruiting a team to work alongside you.  Children’s ministry comes with one of the most diverse to-do lists of any role, from cutting out crowns to supporting bereaved families, from preparing lessons to making gunge!

Moses knew all about managing big groups with a range of ages. Leading and encouraging them, guiding and feeding them... we see throughout his story in Exodus moments of challenge, exhaustion, and frustration but also incredible connection with God and victory! 

In Exodus 17 v 8-16 we read about a battle with the Amalekites, Moses has sent Joshua out with a group of soldiers to fight.  Whenever Moses holds up the staff of God the battle goes well, but when Moses’ hands drop, the Amalekites begin to take control of the battle.

8 At Rephidim the Amalekites came and fought the Israelites. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some men and go and fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill, holding the walking stick of God in my hands.”
10 Joshua obeyed Moses and went to fight the Amalekites, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held his hands up, the Israelites would win the fight, but when Moses put his hands down, the Amalekites would win. 

I wonder how many of us have felt like that in our ministry. We’ve felt that if we put anything down, or let our control slip the battle would be lost. We end up jumping on to cover a rota or planning something last minute when somebody has let us down.  We stay late and do a few extra hours after everybody else has gone home to make sure that everything is set up and ready.   We choose not to put in a claim for the odd bag of sweets or prizes when the budget is tight.  The problem is, these behaviours aren’t sustainable, at some point we’ll find ourselves burnt out, exhausted, grumpy or resentful.  In a worst case scenario everything we’ve been trying to hold up alone falls to the ground.

But let’s take a moment to see what happens next in the story of Moses... what lessons does it have to teach us?

1)    Rest on the rock

12a Later, when Moses’ arms became tired, the men put a large rock under him, and he sat on it.

I have read this story so many times...and so many times I have ignored this bit.  Probably because for many years rest was not a word in my vocabulary.  The reality however is that rest is not a suggestion from God, it is a command.  God calls us throughout scripture to come to him and rest.

Exodus 24 v 21 says “You must work for six days, but on the seventh day you must rest”

Did you see that...? Not, should or could but must.

When God speaks about this day of rest in the Old Testament it is a time to deny self (Leviticus 23 v 32).  When we choose to push on through exhaustion, or think we can do everything in our own strength, what is it we’re actually saying? Are we saying that we don’t think God could help? Or are we saying that we selfishly think we can do things better without God? It’s time to deny self, to admit that we need God.  Even if we only have five minutes before our session starts ...and there are three people off sick... and somebody just spilt glitter everywhere... and the sound system isn’t working!!! STOP! One minute placing it in God’s hands gives you four minutes to trust in God and watch Him do something miraculous!

Psalm 71 v 3 saysBe my place of safety where I can always come. Give the command to save me, because you are my rock and my strong, walled city.”

Our solid foundation and rock, our place of safety, security and rest... is God.


2)    Let others take the strain

12bThen Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hands—Aaron on one side and Hur on the other. They kept his hands steady until the sun went down. 

When Moses’ arms were weary, he let others take the strain. Moses wasn’t alone, there were people by his side ready and willing to take the weight.  When you find yourself taking on too much, or feel that loneliness creeping in, it’s time to start looking for who God has put alongside you.

The first person God placed alongside Moses was Aaron, Moses’ relative who had been brought in to speak to Pharoah when Moses told God he wasn’t gifted enough to do it.  Who are the people in your church family with the skills and gifts you need?

Sometimes it’s not about finding the next big kids’ leader, maybe God is sending you..

  • somebody with the time to cut out forty hearts for your family craft morning.

  • somebody servant hearted who is willing to pop along and help hoover at the end of each morning of your holiday club.

  • a baker who is willing to bless the mums attending your toddler group by providing cakes.

  • a family who are happy to drop off fliers about an event on their way to school.

The second person God placed alongside Moses was a man called Hur – the Bible tells us very little about him, except that he was a trusted leader and a father.  We are called to work in partnership with the parents and carers in our church.  Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to bless and serve them that we miss opportunities to work alongside them.  These are the people who know their children best, who are perfectly positioned for discipleship, who are on the mission field every day when they drop their kids to school and chat with other parents. How might God be inviting you to partner with the families in your church this season?


3)    The battle is not yours...

13 So Joshua defeated the Amalekites in this battle.

Who was fighting the battle?  Not Moses. The person leading the charge against the Amalekites was Joshua. Sometimes we behave like the battle is our responsibility – we put on holiday clubs and after school clubs, we set ourselves targets of how many children need to be saved through our brilliantly prepared object lesson on salvation... but Moses did not fight the battle himself, he sent out Joshua and an army.

Are we training our children for battle, or are we trying to fight for them? What would it look like if every child in your Sunday school class told two friends at school about Jesus and brough them to church next week... and the next week they did the same... and the next? Let us not underestimate the power of our children and young people and the part they have to play in God’s kingdom. Let us remember that we are part of a team, an army made up of all ages and all ministries within the church. We are one piece in a much bigger jigsaw puzzle.  The battle will not be lost just because we take a break.


Moses wasn’t always great at asking for help. I love what Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law says to him in Exodus 18 v 17: “You are not doing this right.  You and the people who come to you will get too tired. This is too much work for you; you can’t do it by yourself.”  Let’s take on the challenge of surrendering control, resting in God, trusting in others and releasing our children to be mighty warriors in this season!




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