i had a long conversation with david (my youth pastor) last week. he is frustrated because our church is not bigger, and he brought me a list of things we need to try. i was encouraged by his perspective, and i was gratified by his passion to expand the kingdom. but, as you might expect, we have seriously considered (and, in many cases, tried) all the ideas he brought to me.
as an aside, he was very complimentary to me. he says he is blessed by my ministry, and that many more people should be hearing what i’ve been saying on sundays. awww…
part of what i explained to david is that i have already dealt with these issues on a personal level (that was very easy to write, but very difficult to do). for years i nurtured big dreams of great “success” (i put “success” in quotes because i’m not referring to real kingdom success, but “success” according to my warped definition). i wanted to lead a growing church. i wanted to be admired by my colleagues. i wanted to be well-known in the christian world. like i said, putting those dreams to death was a traumatic experience, but god promised the resurrection of a new dream. god warned me that i would not see great “success” in my lifetime, but i would be used by him to build a bridge for those coming behind me. the lord assured me if i would continue to challenge the thinking of church people, then i would influence a generation of young ministers following me, and make it easier for them to have more fruitful ministries.
to be completely transparent, sometimes it feels like i’m wasting my life. but i know i heard from god. and i know he is faithful.
this past weekend was especially tough. it was a rainy, drizzly sunday morning in oklahoma, and we had half a crowd. today (as i do on many mondays), i considered whether i might be a greater asset to the kingdom as a truck driver. once again, ben arment came through for me. today on “history in the making” ben writes:
A great vision will never come about unless God goes before you. But keep in mind that sometimes you might be the vessel by which God goes before someone else.
wow. only thirty words. and i didn’t have to look up a single one. but i cannot describe how powerful these words were to me. this message was absolutely birthed in heaven. if god continues to send guys like ben arment my way, then i will have the energy and the courage to continue pouring into guys like david.
and perhaps i really will be an asset to the kingdom.