Most pastors do not go into ministry thinking they will have an average, ho-hum church. Most of us started ministry with a dream to change the world and a vision for a growing, dynamic ministry. We wanted to influence a community, even transform an entire city.
Over time, if we are not careful, our passions and dreams can fade. We can become satisfied with the average; we can easily find ourselves in a declining church where we shrug our shoulders and try to be faithful for one more year.
But things do not have to be that way. Pastors must balance dreaming the dream with the day-to-day work of pastoring a church or leading a ministry. And we must learn to recognize the signs that we no longer have a vision for the church and city we serve.
For me, one of the signs is finding myself in management mode—busy “running” the church, making sure everything is in its place, maintaining all the aspects of pastoring. Maintenance has its place. However, if all we do is maintain, we will just keep what we have and we will never grow.
God said in Genesis 1:28: “Be fruitful, and multiply; fill the earth” (NKJV). I believe this is the heart of God for our churches (the body) to grow and multiply. Jesus wants us to be fruitful; He wants us to multiply our effectiveness and reach those who are far from Him.
When we dream God’s dream and love our cities this much, people will be drawn in to find out what compels our churches to action. Our cities can be transformed by missionally minded, passionate people whose lives have been changed by Jesus, by people who are willing to go into our communities and love them without conditions.
Here are a few ideas to rekindle your dream and love for your city:
- Meet with your mayor or city manager to discover ways your church can serve the city.
- Meet with school administrators to discover ways you can help meet their needs. You may be able to offer tutoring or help fund field trips.
- Provide a meal once a month to the police and fire departments, and let them know how much you appreciate them.
- Donate money to your city to help with beautification projects.
- Partner with food pantries in the area, and help meet their needs.
- Prepare and serve a meal at your local shelter or Salvation Army.
If you love your city, find out what its needs are, and engage your congregation to meet those needs. Your dreams will be realized once again. You will be fruitful and multiply, and your good works will fill the earth. You will rediscover your love for the ministry God has entrusted to you.
By: Mark Warren, assisting minister at Grace Capital (Pembroke Foursquare Church) in Pembroke, N.H.