Monday, January 05, 2009

Imagine... Obstacles Pt. 4

"One of the great dangers of leadership is this: we stop doing ministry out of imagination and we start doing ministry out of memory. We learn how and forget why. We stop creating the future and start repeating the past." - Mark Batterson

Another obstacle to doing ministry out of imagination instead of memory is the tension between Past Success and an Uncertain Future. If a particular part of our ministry has gone over well, it's tempting to not fix what isn't broken. The logic is sound. But what if my ministry now needs a rocket instead of my good-enough-as-it-is bike to get where God is leading?

If you've ever dealt with stocks, you've heard that "past performance is not a guarantee of future results" or something similar. Just because something worked once, doesn't mean it will work again, or even that we need it to work again.

But it's tempting, when something went well, to rinse, lather, and repeat without thinking about why it worked in the first place. It's comforting to know that "it worked before, so we'll do it again." The problem is, when it doesn't work anymore, we're often too slow to realize/admit it. "We just need to do better." "We should have promoted more effectively." "We just picked the wrong date." All these (and more) can be ways to excuse ourselves from facing the reality in front of us that what once was our shining moment, has now become... something less.

Doing ministry out of imagination requires us to use past success as a vehicle that will launch us into tomorrow instead of a bed upon which to rest or a wall to prop us up. Even the best of our ministries/events/activities of today will not be sufficient to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Take some time to think about your ministry, whatever that is. What are you doing because it's just what you do? What may be losing effectiveness and energy because it's lost purpose? Begin to dream of what could be... Search the heart of God - ask Him to reveal His dreams for your ministry. Then, do whatever it takes to help Him turn His dreams into reality.

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