Not a member yet? Register now and get started.

lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

Forgot your password?

The Art of Saying, “No”

06 Aug Spiritual Formation | Comments Off on The Art of Saying, “No”
The Art of Saying, “No”

Recently, I was asking to be involved in a great opportunity to start a new program at the ministry where I serve. It seemed like an amazing program to implement. We had some key volunteers invested, funds to get it started and the space to operate. I was really excited and ready to move forward! However, the more I prayed and thought about it, I realized it would be stretching us too thin. It fit into our mission and vision, but it was not the right time for the organization.


We have all heard how important it is to say, “no” in ministry. We talk about it in prayer groups, small groups, conferences, books, and seminars. We tell one another to make sure we are not over-booking, doing too much or running ourselves too thin. However, how often do we make sure we are in deed saying, “yes” to right things and “no” to things we shouldn’t be doing. Most of the time the requests that are sent our way, are often really good things! They are great opportunities and they make sense for the ministry. I believe this is one of the reasons it is difficult practicing saying, “no.” Let me share a few reminders that I’ve found helpful when I try to  balance current programs and other requests in ministry.

5 tips for knowing when to say, “No.”

  1. Try not to commit right away. Take time to think through what is being requested. Pray. Is this the direction God wants you to go or not?

  2. Ask yourself a few questions: Questioning the request often helps delineate whether or not you should move forward.
    Does the request fit in with your gifting’s/talents/experience/purpose
    Does the request conflict with other responsibilities (home, work, ministry, time with God)
    Is this apart of your work/ministry responsibility?
    Does the request fit into the organization’s mission/vision
  3. Say, “no” graciously. When you do decide and take that step to say “no,” be honest and be gracious. We often feel guilty that we are saying, “no.” Therefore, we come up with a list of reasons why we must decline the request. Sometimes we even over embellish to make it sound more daunting that we have to turn the wonderful opportunity down. We make sure the person know’s how busy we currently are. This is not necessary. Just be honest, simple, kind and gracious.
  4. If the request does fit into your mission/vision/gifts etc., thank people for the opportunity and ask them to consider you when another opportunity arises.
  5. When the feeling of guilt creeps in..take a moment to talk with God. Why do you feel guilty? Is it because you disappointed the person or another reason. Allow God to speak to you.


Learning to say “yes” to the right things and declining other things is  not an easy task. However it is important for our health in ministry and can be life changing for our walk with God. How else have you learned to say, “no?”

Meredith Dahl
Executive Directory at Cross Connection Ministries
Meredith is the Executive Director of Cross Connection Ministries in New Holland, PA. She has received a Bachelor of Science in Student Ministry and a Master of Arts in Ministry (Concentration in Student Ministry) from Lancaster Bible College. Meredith and her husband live in New Holland with their baby boy Liam and love living, working and volunteering in their community.