Wednesday, January 29, 2014
smaller focus for the bigger picture
liz and i moved here to belgium for ministry purposes. we had desires to be world changers and saviors of dying movements. we longed to influence the region with a sight to transform the continent of europe. i wouldn't say we strategized to duplicate the stateside success that we had grown to appreciate in its entirety. i will say that we would've been foolish to start from scratch and attempt to re-invent the wheel.
our vision upon our launch here included a team. many of you may know them. team ministry is always preferred to lone-ranger effort. that is, i prefer team ministry. i am aware of many leaders who have pioneered on their own and have followed the lord's desires and as a result found great success for the kingdom of god. i have always felt that as my calling, to work with a team. since liz and i moved here we naturally found and built relationships with those already laboring in the land and those who have emerged since our work began.
since our launch we have experienced a shift in focus. part of this is due to the team we moved here with are now back in the states continuing on into what god is calling them for the next season. for my family this has required we shift a focus and aim our sights in a different direction, but with the same idea of declaring the kingdom of the lord.
honestly, we didn't realize the impact of the shift until the last few months. since then, we have been working towards making an impact on the local church level. with the team we were able to do many, many things. some of the things we did well and some we should've done better, but over all we were traveling with a different mindset. we did camps, church prayer nights, led worship around europe, preached, prophesied, and a number of other not so extravagant things. but it HAD to change for me and my family.
one of the biggest lessons i have learned concerns expectations. i had them moving here to belgium, i had them when i ministered with the team, i had them as the team began transitioning out, and i have them still. god has taught me to have expectations, and even more specifically for this year, to constantly engage myself in the battle of not doing things just because they have always been done that way. rigid traditions have a hard time moving most of the time, i have learned that they usually break because of their stiffness and end up irreparable.
it is very common to meet someone who has an opinion of the church (that's not really news). this opinion is shaped by the expectations, the expectations are shaped by perception. i have learned while living in belgium, when my expectations fail, or are not attained, it is imperative to look first at my perception. i evaluate my perception, to see if it is in the right place? most of the time if my expectation is crushed it isn't because of an outside influence as much as it is a perspective that was wrong to begin with. this is the hard thing to do when you want to change the world, because everyone else is the problem, not you. but when expectations go south train yourself to first evaluate your perception of the problem; look at the implications of what you are expecting. i can't tell you how many times my evaluation has led me to a life-changing shift in how god truly sees me. i want so badly to perform for him and meet his approval of my plan to change europe for him, that is not what he is asking me to do. a faulty perception, especially in ministry will skew your expectation EVERY time. things aren't changing fast enough, i am not able to raise enough money right now, the church sings songs from 20 years ago, they all use computers from 1995, no one is listening to me, everyone is too complacent, everyone is too old, the young people don't want to do anything, and the list goes on and on. god is using these experiences to shift my focus for HIS bigger picture.
when your expectations aren't met, shift your focus to yourself, evaluate your perception. as a result, might find that whatever you are doing right then and there...you are so content to just be used by god that the results (especially after failed expectations) would not discourage your determination.