Tag Archives: strategy

Make This The Year of Execution!

 

People often decide to move forward with their plans after they reach a certain degree of certainty that their plans will be successful.  However, when it comes to moving forward in the things of God, that is not always possible.  God frequently leads us to the next step after we’ve completed the first.  God seems to insist we walk by faith and not by sight.  And often, God does not fill in all the blanks; God leaves certain details out of his instructions and still commands us to move.  See Numbers 13 where God challenged his people to move forward into the promised land with only His Word as guarantee that they would inherit the promise.  But they hesitated; they balked; they were paralyzed with fear not because of what they knew but because of what they didn’t know.  They didn’t know how God would act and so they refused to move forward.  God did not provide all the details.

“. . .. So when we are confronted by indecision, we need to move forward despite our doubts or confusion. We need to move forward, even if we’re only taking small steps. Those steps, regardless of which direction they go in, are likely to give us new information and experience. Our actions send ripples into the world. The situation may change or reveal itself in a new way once we have moved to a new vantage point.  Think of your life as a movie you are watching. You are midway through the movie and you don’t know what is going to happen. But you’re not supposed to know what is going to happen. The movie is not over yet. This is the challenge posed by the demon of indecision: Can you move forward in the face of uncertainty? Can you co-exist with confusion and not-knowing and take the next step?”[1]

God is calling us to move forward; to execute the plans he has given us for ministry in our several contexts.  I challenge you to obey God and do just that.  This year let us resolve to act; to act in concert with the known will of God and then to expect God to show up and show out. Each of you have dreams and aspirations of God making your life better.  You have prayed about it, you have discussed it in great detail; yet, you have not acted in line with your conversation.  You have procrastinated, hesitated because all of the blanks have not been filled in. You may ask can we do it? Who will help us? Where will the money come from?  Among others.  You declare you’re waiting on God and I declare God is waiting on you.  Make this the Year of Execution in your church, in your life, and in your community.

Trust God’s Word found in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.”  Amazing, God has planned for your success; the question is “Why haven’t you acted based on God’s plans?”  Perhaps you’re afraid or perhaps you just can’t handle of the stress of not knowing.  However, when you do not move in concert with God’s plans, the stress of indecision, the stress of inaction, becomes even greater. The truth is we often try to wait until we feel like moving; rather than simply moving in faith.

Trudy Boyle confesses “My number one stress creator is not completing a task I have set for myself or following through promptly. The stress is compounded when I take on more than I can deliver in the allotted time. And my final penchant, which makes up what I call my “stress triangle” is to ignore the whole lot until the last sixty seconds!  How do I let this controllable stress occur? The honest answer is that I sometimes let my feelings boss me around. One of the puzzling lessons I have learned is that, more often than not, I do not feel like doing most of the things that need doing.[2]

Margie Warrell[3] gives us seven (7) strategies for moving past the fear that causes us to procrastinate which leads to our inaction.  I challenge each church to use these strategies as you plan your agenda for the upcoming conference year.  Here are the strategies in a nutshell:

  • Write down your goal and give yourself a deadline.
  • Break your goal into small pieces.
  • Visualize the future you want.
  • Harness fear.
  • Build accountability.
  • Reward progress.
  • Act bravely daily. Starting today

Finally, understand that God rewards action based on his Word.  His Word will not return to God void.  If it doesn’t work, the lessons you learn by doing it will be immeasurable for your future action.  Don’t allow the fear of failure to keep you from your destiny in God.  Make this “The Year of Execution!”

 

 

[1] Krech, G. & Anderson L. (2003). Defeating the Demons of Inaction: Indecision Retrieved from http://www.todoinstitute.org/library/public/defeating_the_demons_of_inaction_indecision.php

[2] Boyle, T. (2003) The Stress of not Getting Things Done. Retrieved from http://www.todoinstitute.com/library/public/the_stress_of_not_getting_things_done.php

[3] Warrell, M. (2013). Why You Procrastinate, and How to Stop It. Now. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2013/03/25/why-you-procrastinate-and-how-to-stop-it-now/#3b4e73481837

 

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Overcoming Challenges to Your Destiny

How to Achieve Greatness Despite Obstacles in Your Life

“Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. (2 Kings 5:1 ESV)”

The main character in this story is Naaman, Commander of the Syrian Army. His name, “Naaman,” means “Pleasantness.” Yet, his life up to this point had not been pleasant. Like many of you, he had some important and significant things going well for him, but the most important part of his life caused him great anguish and misery.

First, Naaman had accomplished something great and unique in his life. He had not allowed his handicap, his disease to keep him from becoming a mighty man of valor in his country. He had climbed the military ranks and achieved the status of Commanding General of all the Armies of the King of Syria.

Second, Naaman had gained the influence and favor of the people with whom he served. His soldiers loved him; his king loved him; his wife loved him. Naaman, though a commander in the Army had overcome many struggles to reach this point because of his unfortunate circumstances.

Naaman was a gentle soul; he was a pleasant man most of the time. However, one subject caused Naaman to transform from a pleasant man to a bitter man. Have you ever been in a situation where you could laugh, play, enjoy your friends, but when a certain subject came up, it caused you great bitterness?

Naaman would be having a pleasant day and doing well until his issue kept him from smiling. He would do well until his issue kept him from enjoying the company of friends and loved ones. Naaman, you see was a leper.

Leprosy was a skin disease that was often contagious, but always a cause for segregation and separation. A disease that kept its victims living in isolation and in places where those who were well could make fun of them and be cruel to them.

They were the victims of childhood pranks that caused utter frustration. It was akin to a child in this city with cerebral palsy, a child who is mentally retarded, or a child who has suffered a stroke that left them disfigured or paralyzed. Children and adults could be cruel to the lepers, just as children and adults can be cruel today.

Finally, Naaman decided that he would not allow his leprosy to keep him from self-accomplishment. Therefore, he learned and tested his battle skills, fine tuned his command presence, and perfected his ability to strategize and defeat the enemy. Naaman became a great soldier, despite his leprous condition. Hallelujah!

Therefore, whatever issues you are dealing with, you need to follow the example of Naaman and rise above it to achieve greatness in your lifetime. You should refuse to allow your issue to conquer you. One thing is certain, Naaman did not see himself as a leper; he saw himself as a General – Naaman knew that he was somebody. You can move forward with that same attitude if you will do what Naaman did.

Closing the Inspirational Dissatisfaction Gap

A monument reportedly raised in the Alps in honor of a faithful guide who perished while ascending a peak to rescue a stranded tourist.  It read “He died climbing!”  Believe it or not, that is what we all want to be said of us when our time on this earth is over.  None of us want to burn out before we breathe our last breath and so each day, each week, each year we have this inner, inspirational dissatisfaction.

 

Inspirational Dissatisfaction

Inspirational dissatisfaction is a restlessness of heart that comes from recognizing the distance between where you are and where you want to be.  Without it we make a truce with the status quo and quit struggling against our shortcomings.  With it we have the motivation to make the changes necessary to be all God wants us to be.  Ask yourself right now, “Am I where I want to be or had planned to be in ministry at this point in my life?”  If your answer is no that is what inspirational dissatisfaction is all about.  It springs forth from self-awareness.

This begs the question, “How do I go about reaching the point in ministry I desire?”  How can I maximize my ministry and fulfill the will of God for my life before I leave this earth?

Thomas Goodman (1961/1994) identifies four steps to determining, implementing, and maximizing your ministry.  Let me give them to you upfront.  First, create what is called “Your Ministry Manifesto.”  Second, conduct a personal checkup.  Third, Set Goals for Personal Improvement.  Fourth, Set Action Plans. 

 Stage 1 – Identify

Here goes.  Let’s talk about Identify:  What happens in the identify stage?  Vance Havner reportedly said, “The devil will let a preacher prepare a sermon if it will keep him from preparing himself (Goodman, 1961/1994, p.2).”   This training is aimed to help you commit to a personal development plan that is in concert with your ministry goals.

In this stage, the identify stage, you identify the message God gave you when God called you to ministry.  No message, no call.  Everyone in the scripture God called, God gave them a message, God developed them through tests and trials to embody the message he gave them. For example, God told Hosea to marry a harlot to embody the message that God was committed to his people although they were committing harlotry with other gods.

Robert Bellah in his book “Habits of the Heart,” writes, “For most of us, it is easier to think about how to get what we want than to know what exactly we should want” (Goodman, 1961/1994, p.7).  Whether you admit it or not, you must understand that Jesus called you to a specific ministry, a specific message and the embryo of this calling is contained in your initial sermon.  Every sermon you will ever preach is contained in that initial message and you need to go back, take a look at it and dissect that message for key themes, concerns, and issues that Christ elevated in your heart on that initial outing.

For those who are not called to preach, you have to take the time to examine your passion.   Locate the zeal in your heart; what fires you up; what matters to you.  Herein lies the key to your calling and the zeal and passion in your spirit is where God resonates most within you.  So start with that zeal and that passion.  Jesus had such a zeal, in John 2:13-17 he demonstrates how that zeal can cause action in line with your zeal.  This is one of the times that mild mannered Clark Kent turned into superman.  Jesus turned the tables upside down and actually got a whip and ran priests engaged in selling sacrifices out of the temple.  He was lit up about the fact that he believed “God’s house should be a house of prayer for all people” and that zeal led him to act. 

Preaching messages that don’t set your soul on fire simply indicates that you are preaching someone else’s message.  It may become yours one day, but that day has not arrived if that message does not resonate within your spirit.  That is why it is critical for you to dissect your initial sermon to find those topics that light your soul on fire.  And the key is you have to be intentional about it; you can’t wait for it to develop, you have to find it.  Intentional Ministry is ministry aimed at developing the life work God has called you to so you can stay in your lane and maximize your ministry.

Think about a person who has impressed you. Why do you admire that person?  Now think about a person who negatively impresses you.  What is it about that person that has disappointed you?  What plan have you developed to ensure you walk in the direction of the person who impressed you positively rather than the one who impressed you negatively?  Again, if you do not act intentionally, you will miss valuable opportunities to maximize your ministry.

You have heard it said, “Without a vision, the people perish.”  Well without a personal vision, you will perish.  And this word perish means you will fade away, burnout, not complete the ministry or life God intended when he called you.  When you serve without a sense of purpose, you are vulnerable to self-doubt, squandered resources, and hostile division.  A splinter in your soul will negatively impact your preaching and your service.  Do what you do on purpose and you’ll always be empowered, energized, and engaged.

 

Stage 2 – Create your Ministry Manifesto

Having said that once you identify your message, you need to develop a personal ministry manifesto, a public declaration of intent, to guide you over the course of your ministry.  A ministry manifesto, is your “defiant shout into the faces of those who oppose your ministry.  This manifesto gives you a framework for ministry, prevention against burnout, and a framework for better stewardship of your time.  It also motivates you and allows you to engage in meaningful productivity as well as provide a renewed sense of the dignity of your calling.

A personal ministry manifesto, allows you to define your objectives in ministry which gives you ample justification when talking with bishops, elders, and others involved in your ministry.  It enables you to present your priorities, your message to those seeking your services, or those trying to set your agenda for you.

Imagine the bishop for those of you on the call in ministry, calling you saying he or she wants to appoint you to another church.  Intelligently, respectfully you ask the bishop what that church needs and what the bishop sees as the priorities for helping that church go to the next level.  Well, once the bishop explains his goals for that church; your knowledge or your message, your gifts, and graces will allow you to either agree that you would be a fit for that church or allow you to convince the bishop that you would not be a good fit based on who you are and your message.  Listen, “when others try to set our agenda, we must be able to explain our objectives to them” (Goodman, 1961/1994, p.15).

Finally, to develop your ministry manifesto  you need to prepare a written statement of your objectives (identify), examine ways you can fulfill your objectives (strategize), set goals in relation to your statements of objectives (strategize), and make a plan of action for each goal that you set (act).

I would love to coach you in this process and help you develop your ministry manifesto as well as develop your plans and strategies to maximize your ministry in the near future.  You can schedule me for one on one coaching in this process or you can book me to come to your church and provide training in this area for you and your members.

 

 

References

Goodman, Thomas (1961/1994). The intentional minister:  4 powerful steps to determining, implementing, and fulfilling your ministry priorities. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman