For most ministry leaders, casting a compelling vision that keeps people pointed in the same direction requires the most amount of energy and strategy. Personally, my biggest headaches, as well as my most significant victories, both stemmed from keeping the people under my care pointed in the right direction.
A while ago, a friend of mine and I loaded up our surf boards and made our way to the beautiful waters of Santa Cruz, California. We suited up, and took notice of the consistent, even breaks. Stoked for what would prove to become a great day, we dove into the water and made our way into the line-up.
As each set rolled through, I took notice of something so peculiar, yet so familiar that if you did not look for it, then you would miss it. I saw that after every set, the few dozen guys with us in the water would immediately return to the same spot in the line-up, face their boards to the horizon, and patiently wait with eager anticipation for the next set to roll through. Depending on the tides and wind, this could at times mean just a couple of minutes or perhaps much longer. But the guys waited, boards pointed forward, knowing with unrelenting confidence that a new set was building and making its way to shore.
During one of the lulls, a thought struck me: what I was witnessing in the water is a testament to the power of the local church.
As a Pastor, I know and believe fully with all of my heart that when the church aligns together for the sake of the Gospel in a community, then lives, whole families, and entire communities can radically transform to Christ. I've experienced this with my own eyes. I watched these men as they lined up together, knowing and believing with all of their heart that soon and very soon a wave would come. And I thought: what would the church look like if we lived the same way? How would our communities and families change if we lined up together, all of us facing the same direction, looking to Scripture, and expecting for God to arrive?
Just like the waves of the ocean, God does not move in one constant, full motion all of the time. I would prefer for that to be the case. Life would be simple and predictable. Rather, it is my personal experience in line with Scripture that the movement of God seems to ebb and flow, according to his sovereignty and grace. Sometimes, there may be long, arduous lulls between movements. And during that time, we must reflect on the question: what direction are you pointing your board? Do you believe with all of your heart in the faithfulness of God and trust that during those lulls, God will once again move? Or do you take your time to get back in the line-up, stare at the shore, or give up entirely?
As a ministry leader, I am sure that at times you feel like paying attention to what you can control, rather than waiting, praying, longing? Sometimes, you may even feel like giving up entirely. It can feel like a fight to keep both those in your care, as well as yourself, pointed in the right direction. Waiting for another set, especially during those lull seasons when people get restless or want to move on, takes courageous vision and an unrelenting passion on the hope of what could be!
As a ministry leader, your role primarily consists of constantly casting that vision and reminding your people of what lay ahead! May we paddle hard to get back in the line-up so that we can quickly point our board - our lives, our churches, or communities - in the right direction.
As a Christ-follower - as a ministry leader - I know one thing: just like the waves of the ocean, God always moves. God always remains faithful to his people. I simply want to be pointed in the right direction with as many people as I know pointed with me when that time comes.
QUESTION: Are you pointed in the right direction?