I’ve come across a lot of creative ideas, even ‘good ideas’ in my 20 years of ministry; ideas that on the surface appeared to be “life-changing” and “earth-shaking” and “innovative,” only for them to fall flat, producing little or no fruit. Ever been there? It can be quite frustrating, time-consuming, and disappointing.
Yet, the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:16-20) compels us to keep reaching, keep telling, keep loving, and to keep serving…
I once heard Craig Groeschel say something to the effect,
“To reach people no one else is reaching, we need to do things no one else is doing”
Instead of simply adapting and trying to carbon copy what another church may be doing, it’s vital that we get our own word from God for our own unique situation and location. Does this take more work? Yes. Can it be riskier this way? Yes. Might it be a little scary? Yep. Is it worth it? Absolutely!
When you do this, you will not be leaning and relying on your own understanding, but will diligently be seeking after and following God, receiving direction and instruction from Him (did I mention that this will also improve your prayer life?) Then He will get all the credit and receive all of the recognition, and His Kingdom will be built not on your personality and skill-set, but on His Word and Spirit.
My personal goal has been to model this by searching after God’s heart, studying His Word, and leaning on His Spirit, much like the men of Issachar did in 1 Chronicles. This is a great example of leaders understanding the culture in which they lived, knowing the best course of action to take, and boldly acting on their intel:
All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take. (1 Chronicles 12:32, NLT)
These leaders could have come up with a dozen ‘good ideas’ and maybe even made some progress. Instead, they came up with a ‘God idea’ that led to David eventually becoming their king and “There was great joy throughout the land of Israel” (1 Chronicles 12:40, NLT).
Swiss theologian Karl Barth once said, “One should preach with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.” Our goal should be to “understand the signs of the times” by studying our culture, knowing what’s going on, and better yet, what to do… then sharing God’s Word with clarity and conviction within that context.
Whether you’re a church leader, business person, school teacher, or parent, the same is true for all of us… Life can be tricky; it’s often confusing; rarely predictable, always changing; and we can feel out-of-touch with reality pretty quickly. Yet, one God idea will trump a thousand good ideas for your particular situation and lead you to sweet victory.
Sounds like a winning strategy for any phase of life, wouldn’t you agree?