This one is courtesy of Mark Batterson. It challenged me for multiple reasons. One, because I’m a dreamer with some pretty lofty dreams that I believe are from God. And 2, because I worked with a guy for close to two years who made his dreams into an idol and in the process lost a God sized vision and developed what you might call a selfish ambition. If you are a church leader, or just some one with dreams I think you might enjoy this.
Is Your Dream Your Idol?
When you become part of National Community Church, we invite you into the collective dream God has given us for Washington, DC. And we make no apologies for that because it’s not our dream. It’s God’s dream for us! You become part of something bigger than you and more important than you. And we want you to be a shareholder in everything we’re called to do: lead a small group, serve in a ministry, help launch a location by being part of a launch team, go on a missions trip. We want you to invest your time, energy, and resources in the dream!
But let me flip the proverbial coin. We don’t just invite you into the dream God has given us. You invite us into the dream God has given you!
On our recent leadership retreat I had conversations with a number of leaders. And it was so cool to hear their dreams: they ranged from becoming an FBI agent to starting a business to launching a ministry to athletes to running for office to starting a non-profit to help the homeless.
And it reminded me of this simple fact: if we focus our energies on helping people pursue the dream God has given them, then our collective dream as a church will become reality too!
Let me be blunt and speak to pastors for a moment. And I would encourage you to check your motives. I think our dream for our church can become an idol. If we aren’t careful, we can cross that fine line from Thy Kingdom Come to My Kingdom Come. And when that happens, it distorts the way we view the people in our congregation. Honestly, they become a means to an end. They become a number to be counted. I know I’m hitting some nerve endings right about now. So how do we keep our motives pure? I think it comes back to this simple motivation: I want to see people become everything God designed and destined them to be. Is that your primal motivation for ministry? Do you care more about your dream or their dream?
A few weeks ago I met Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales, so I decided to read Me, Myself, and Bob. The book documents the rise and fall of VeggieTales. After VeggieTales declared bankruptcy and the dream fell apart, Phil did some soul searching. And in the book he shares some honest thoughts and questions. Let me share one question and one thought.
Here’s the question: “What do you love more, your dream or God?”
Here’s the thought: “At long last, after a lifetime of striving, God was enough. Not God and impact or God and ministry. Just God.”
Alright, I lied. Here’s one more thought.
“The impact God has planned for us doesn’t occur when we’re pursuing impact. It occurs when we’re pursuing God.”