Category Archives: Ministry

Dreaming During the Day

Today I spent most of the day at a day long seminar called “Get Motivated”. It was an interesting experience. For the most part I walked away very much left unchanged by the morning and having, if I’m completely honest, little to say about it. However, as I reflect back on the day one quote stuck out to me that, in context, had a completely different intention than the direction I am going to take it. I can’t remember the quote verbatim but the core of it was “those who dream during the day change the world.” This idea speaks deeply into what I believe will make up the future of the church. In a world where distractions occupy much of my day I still always find myself drifting off at times in thoughts about the future of my ministry, where I want it to go and what I need to do to take it there. I cherish these moments because they are the driving force behind my desire for ministry.

Potential is what takes things to the next level. Identifying potential in people develops into mentoring which develops them into leaders. Potential in programs and structures leads to effectiveness and vision for the future. Day dreaming has always been portrayed as a negative practice but I believe that these dreams during the day are the birth place of vision and vision leads to change and if properly put into place vision leads to effectiveness. This idea brings up 3 points that I wanted to share with you.

1. If you’re not dreaming you’re not in the right place.

If your current situation, in particular your work environment, does not cause you to dream of the potential in that place, of what it could be then you are probably not in the right place. Apathy within the work place is the death of effectiveness. Not caring about the future and only operating in day to day survival mode probably means that you have checked out and are only where you are for the paycheck. Not only does this do a disservice to the field that you are in but it also does a disservice to you. We should all strive to be in places where we dream about the future, where our creative juices flow and are nurtured both by you and by those you work with and for.

2. If your dreams are not nurtured by your superiors, it’s time to move on.

The stifling of dreams is an attack on creativity and vision. If your dreams and ideas for the future are not listened to, nurtured and, in the appropriate ways, invested in then you need to move on. The setting in which you are in is not conducive to your passion and it is better for you to find a place where you can cultivate your passion than work in a place where you feel oppressed and unsupported.

3. Dreams are only as good as the actions you are willing to take to accomplish them.

Everyone dreams, but not all dreams come to fruition. You cannot sit by and be frustrated by the lack of development of your dreams if you are not taking action to see them come to life. This means learning to cast the vision of what you see, sharing that with others and being open to refining them so that they fit the purpose and goals set forth by your organization. It does not do any good to be frustrated by a lack of passion if you are not putting out the effort to see your dreams come into reality.

These are just a few of the thoughts that have been bouncing around my head today. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Held Captive!

God completely humbled me last night. If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t enjoy it at first but once I recognized that it was a healthy lesson I felt a sudden burst of freedom. It was if I had been held captive and all of the sudden the chains were broken, the noose had been loosened and I could breath. I realized I was being held captive by numbers.

I have a healthy ministry at my church. (In large part thanks to amazing volunteers and my boss/co-pastor.) Our students are solid and we’ve experienced tremendous growth over the past year. Tonight, however we were low, I mean really low. It’s not that hard to see why, it was Mother’s Day and the students that were gone were all gone for legitimate reasons but that didn’t prevent the frustration of low numbers from creeping in. Numbers were holding me captive because I was measuring not only the effectiveness of the ministry based on them but also my self-worth as a pastor. I came home feeling ineffective, frustrated and depressed because we had such a poor turnout. But as the night progressed I became relieved, even hopeful. After talking with one of my very good friends and fellow Pastor, in addition to my wife, I found myself back to where I once was not so long ago.

My first ministry out of college was a tiny little church in the Conejo Valley of California. The student ministry was small but that didn’t matter to me. I was excited to work with those students and build relationships. For the short amount of time that I was there the ministry didn’t grow much in the area of numbers but that never affected me. It didn’t have an impact on how I viewed the ministry because relationships were being built and students were encountering Jesus in a fresh way. In that ministry, I didn’t base the success of the ministry on numbers but on whether or not students were hearing about Jesus and building relationships. It wasn’t out of any profound wisdom that I thought this way, more likely out of idealism, but as I look back now I see the wisdom in that mentality. If students are encountering Jesus and growing in relationships with Him, their peers and their leaders then a ministry is successful.  Don’t get me wrong, numbers are great. There is an amazing energy that flows in a room full of students and that energy is an amazing high but it an be disillusioning too. Numbers measure only a portion of a ministry’s success. If students are not encountering Jesus and growing in relationships then it doesn’t matter how large of a group you have, it is a largely ineffective ministry.

It’s freeing to not base your ministry’s worth and success on numbers because it allows you to focus more clearly on the students that are present. This is something that I need to work on but am all the more excited to do so. I will continue to strive to draw students who don’t know Jesus into this ministry but I won’t base it’s success or worth on how many are there. Don’t be consumed by numbers, they are great when you have them but can quickly turn into an idol; an idol that takes the focus off of Jesus and his ministry and onto quantity rather than quality.