One of the challenges when working as a creative person in ministry is the desire to create new ways to communicate age-old truths, week, after week, after week. If you’ve ever served as a worship pastor for any length of time, you know what I’m talking about. We “creatives” find ourselves trying to work within the confines of a set structure, for example, the order of service at your church. Whatever the normal service order for your church looks like; opening song, welcome, 3 song set, and then announcements, message and then wrap it up with a closing song, can make creatives feel like creative frauds. It seems as if we’re just doing the same thing week after week after week. So in order to overcome this repetition, we try to mix it up, create new ideas, or try to create a “new way” of communicating something, that has literally been communicated for thousands of years. No easy task.
And once these grand ideas are born, someone, meaning you, then needs to pull together the resources to make it happen. And this leads us to what I’m writing about today. So the question is, at what point, when trying to pull off your brilliant idea, is the cost, in both resources and people, too great to continue, and when should you pull the plug and resign it was a good idea, but needs to be for another day.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)
After many years of working in ministry and attempting to pull off literally hundreds of these “great ideas,” what I’ve discovered is this.
If God is in it, then it will come together.
If God is in it, the needed resources and volunteers to bring your idea to fruition, will either just fall into place, or you’ll find yourself facing one closed door after another. So what does fall into place look like? When communicating your idea and seeking help you’ll find people will instantly respond with a resounding, “Yes! That sounds great! I’d love to help!” You might need to navigate some schedules, but for the most part, the pieces will just come together. But, when the idea might be just a bit too much of YOUR desire and not so much of Gods. You’ll find yourself standing before one closed door after another, until eventually, no matter how great of an idea it is, you’ll just have to admit to yourself that you tried but it’s just not going to happen.
Unless you force it.
Unfortunately, I must confess that there have been times, when I’ve continued on, regardless of the pushback I was receiving to an idea, regardless of the struggle I was facing locating volunteers. I’d push past the resistance, convincing (guilting) volunteers to participate, saying things like “I owe you one buddy!”
If I’m being honest with myself, it was because the idea was so great that it needed to be done to help reach lost people, it was more because of pride. I wanted to be “the guy.” I wanted to be known for, and receive praise for, being the guy who could get things done. Regardless of the cost.
So the lesson I’ve learned is; yes, you can press through and make your ideas happen, all of them, but if God is not in it, it comes at a price. Both financially and, more importantly in the ministry we do, relationally with the volunteers you serve, and your staff or team.
So next time you’re in the midst of making your next great idea a reality and you find yourself continually running into those closed doors, ask yourself a question.
What’s driving this? Is it God, or is it me?