Most people start ministries because God has laid a vision on their heart. It is a God given passion that will benefit others. A vision without a Godly passion is just an idea that will leave you when the opposition comes. And, trust me, opposition will come. The opposition usually comes from well-meaning friends who say things like “you cannot do that, or “you do not have the education or training to do that”, or the squelcher of all “you cannot afford it”.
The opposition that most people starting out in ministry are not prepared for is the religious spirit. When there is a move of God, the first to criticize is the religious spirit who is invested in the status quo. The Pharisees and Sadducees opposed Jesus and His teaching and the miracles He was performing. They accused Him of being a son of the devil.
Another mistake many make when they get a vision from God is believing it will be fulfilled quickly. In fact, most of the time overnight success takes ten to fifteen years. Consider many well-known Christian leaders who labored many years to get where they are today.
I am reminded of Jer. 18: 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. NKJV
Many times when we receive a vision from God, we are not equipped to fulfill that vision immediately. God has to mold us into the vessel that He can use. Then He places us where He wants us to be. In my experience, God had to get a lot of Bob out of me before I could become an effective vessel for him. I suspect that is true with most of us. God keeps pruning me and enlightening me as I strive to complete his calling on my life. I have learned that we never stop learning. We must have a teachable spirit that is forever open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
In the Old Testament Habakkuk has an interesting thing to say about vision:
Hab 2:2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it. NKJV
Why should you write down the vision? First God told us to write it down and we need to be obedient. The other reason is so that we do not forget it or add to it. Many times if we become physically, emotionally and spiritually drained it is not from what Christ wants us to do, but from the things we add on. This is especially true for those who are bi-vocational. You work days. You have to take care of your family’s needs and you spend the balance of your time in ministry. It is extremely important that you are doing only what God called you to do.
What happens to some of us is that we begin by doing what God calls us to do, and then say “I can do this also”. Or others see our gifting and ask us to help with their project. Most of us, being mercy motivated, try to help that person and maybe another and another. These are add ons.
We wear ourselves and our workers out doing good things instead of God things. Remember, Satan delights in keeping you busy doing good things as long as these keep you from your God thing. Make sure God is telling you to help that ministry and make sure the activity falls within your vision statement.
It is important to have a written vision statement. The vision statement will give you the guidelines you need to evaluate each request for help. If an activity falls outside your vision statement, do not pursue it. You may ask, “Bob, are you saying that I should say no to ministry?” Yes, if it falls outside of your vision guidelines. Some are stealing ministries from others because doing so makes their flesh feel good. When that happens, you can stay so busy doing good things that you miss fulfilling the vision God gave you and thus miss the will of God for you.
Lastly, write down your vision so your people will understand it. Prov. 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: KJV The word perish mean they become unruly. If children are left unattended, they eventually become unruly. And usually what happens is they start quarrels among themselves because they want their way in the situation. It is the same with people you are leading: they must have direction in their ministry lives. It is your vision statement that will give them a sense of direction. In fact the vision is the congregation’s security; it is a comfort to them that they know where they are going.
The added benefit to a written vision statement that is visibly displayed either in the entrance to your facility or in the church bulletin each Sunday is that it will attract new members who identify with your vision – those sheep that will hear your voice. The other good news it may help keep away those who do not agree with your vision – the goats who are unteachable.
More on vison in the next teaching.
Bishop op Bob Coulter
Put your Dream to the test by John C. Maxwell