Only those leaders who act boldly in times of crisis and change are willingly followed. (Jim Kouzes)
Within the church, God has placed men and women who love to see growth. It is what keeps us to our tasks. The lack of increase can kill the joy of our calling so we lean forward looking for any type of progress we can possibly measure.
Growth however, requires change. Going from where we are presently to a place of increase requires seeing what most people are not able or willing to see. Seeing change before it happens is called a vision. Few people are capable of a vision as most would rather stay in a climate that is comfortable. Comfort however can cause one to never imagine anything better. A Pastor or congregation who is comfortable with an attendance of 90 will never see a crowd of 300 because they are not desperate enough to make the kinds of changes it would take to gather that kind of increase.
Change means leaving a place that is familiar and going to a place that is unfamiliar. Few churches are willing to follow even the most seasoned pastor into a place of unfamiliarity. Here is why so many of our churches stagnate numerically. This is why the average church in America only runs about 85 people. Even in cities with populations in the hundreds of thousands, churches often find it hard to get over the 100 person hump.
Change requires casting a vision. Within the church it requires faith in the leader who is casting a vision of a place of revival we have not yet seen. As Moses of old preached of a Promised Land that was ahead, the current day Preacher must be willing to stand in a desert of nothingness and promise something far better than the status quo. As Joshua shouted, “Let’s cross over this river!” present day church leaders must be willing to look at obstacles as opportunities for miracles instead of places of failure.
No walled city ever came down without some great leader first standing far out front of the crowd and saying it could be done. No bridge was ever built nor building raised where some imaginative mind did not first dream it. No church ever grew exponentially without first, the Man or Woman of God casting the vision for it’s growth.
Where are the End Time revivalists who would tell our generation “Jesus is Coming”. Who are the men and women who will affect the kind of change necessary for a great Later Day outpouring? Where is the Pastor who will stand in a dormant church and declare “Revival, Growth and Increase”?
Visionaries too often lose their hunger for growth and change when the congregations constant fear, doubt and resistance diminish the leaders own zeal. Are we so afraid of people that we would tell God “no”? Would we abstain from the zeal within our own hearts to sooth trepidation of the naysayer’s? Would our own passion be disquieted by those who would doubt God’s promises?
Even He who could have stayed on His throne in Heaven, stepped off of his place of being worshipped to communicate to this planet a promise of something better. His willingness to leave His place of magnificence so that we could come up a little bit higher should convey to us His desire for His church to move forward.
Courage establishes leadership. A leader without the courage to create needed change is no more than a manager. The parable of the men with the talents tells us what becomes the person who would simply manage our Lords resources. Investing people takes courage. Investing in the lives of those who take pleasure in comfort takes courage to push them to places of the extreme. Should Moses have stopped at the obstacle that was the Red Sea, all would have been lost. However, he was willing to take people from a place of relative safety to a place of extreme promise. Do or die, all would be lost or all would be saved by his visionary genius and willingness to believe God for the impossible.
Being the first to believe something can be done takes courage. Courage however establishes leadership. Without a leader who acts with courage, a congregation will lack the courage needed to follow into God’s promises. David was willing to do battle with a giant whom other more seasoned men feared and as a result he won the hearts of the nation. No Pastor would ever need fear another taking his church if he is a Pastor who leads with courage. Courage is attractive. Few have it and as a result, people want to be near it.
Simply knowing what needs to be done to create change is not enough. We must act upon our insight. Many people know what needs to be done. Few do it. As a result we fail to move into the Promised Land of Revival.
Having saved the best for last, our Lord is desirous to enable His church to have great endtime revival. Are we willing to move into it? Are we willing to move out of the ordinary? Are we eager to leave the comfort zones we have created for ourselves? The God of the miraculous is beckoning us into the realm of the impossible. He calls us into the impractical that the naysayers could be astounded. Those whom would say it cannot be done do not know the God of the impossible. They have not seen Him turn water into wine. They have not seen him open the blinded eyes. They have not witnessed for themselves His ability to turn a small boys lunch into a feast that would feed a multitude. So their faith is small. Their trust unearned. Their vision blurred by their own knowledge of what is and what is not, possible.
“But let us believe God”. Let us believe Him for what he wants to do in our churches. Let us believe him for what He is trying to do in our cities. Let us face those with doubt and say, “It can be done!”