Occasionally in pastoral ministry a visionary challenge will surface in your thoughts and prayers that eventually you discern is the leading of the Holy Spirit. If you are wise, you will seek out counsel and the prayers of your spouse, your leadereship team, and prayer partners. Whether negative or positive you are still left with a decision to make. It is your decision, you own and live with it until it is finished.
Over two years ago, I shared that visionary challenge with my wife and sought her prayers and counsel. I shared it with my board and staff and sought their counsel. I shared with my prayer partners and coveted their prayers. Quite honestly I kept hoping that their counsel would be negative. For as I told my wife if we do this we have to lead the way.
I’ll share more about that journey this week but what I want to tell you tonight is that yesterday we concluded that journey of faith successfully and joyfully. The word miracle is not to strong a word to describe the last two years. The lessons we learned will be of even greater benefit to us and our children as time goes on. The results of that vision has strenghened our church’s ministry and extended our reach to hurting people.
I’d like to share with you how a congregation in perhaps the most fisically challenged county in the United States responded to a vision wiith extreme generosity. At one point during this two year period our paper reported that one out of two people in Detroit were unemployed, our city lost 25% of its population, home foreclosures soared and housing values dropped like a rock. Despite relational challenges, health challenges, and life changes God made a way for people to give and they gave joyfully. At times I couldn’t believe what I would hear when people would say to me, “Pastor thank you for helping me to dream again. Thank you for this opportunity.” In turn I could only say thank you to them for their generosity.
I hope you follow along with me this week as I tell you the lessons I learned from Dream Again. I will share with you about vision, hearing from God, prayer, compliments and criticisms, commitment and discouragement, planning and teamwork. I’ll tell you about our wonderful Savior and church called Woodland! It will be positive but it will be candid.
Peace and Joy!