Staying Focused in the Midst of Changing Seasons
In the midst of rapidly changing conditions, whether ministry-related or family-related, how can pastors and church leaders stay focused on their visions? How can we achieve vision balance and movement? I believe the key word here is manage. Balance and movement is all about managing a vision. In the same way the tightrope walker, as pointed out in my earlier analogy, manages walking across the highwire, pastors and church leaders must learn to prepare and flow with the changing conditions, circumstances and events in their churches—rather than running for the parachute to bail out.
There has to be a way to continue to run with the vision. Managing is about going with the flow of things and staying on top of things. It is easier to “go with the flow” rather than resist seasons of change and times of transition when we know that God has designed our expansions and contractions to help us grow and develop spiritual strength (Romans 8:28). When you experience a contraction, wait on the Lord and prepare for an expansion. In other words, when people start leaving your church, finances start dwindling, when you start feeling detached from family and friends, when you feel the pain of having been betrayed, all hell breaks loose and you don’t know what to do, relax, give thanks and feel joy (I Thessalonians 5:18; John 15:1), and get spiritually organized (Romans 1:21). Let your strength and leadership show forth, not your anxieties and fears—realizing that the universal roller coaster must go down in order to come up again (Galatians 6:9). God will send unexpected resources back into your life and your ministry (Ephesians 3:20). There can be no expansion without contractions and no contractions without expansions (John 12:24).
Therefore, you achieve continued balance and movement of your vision through self-management in the face of changing conditions. While going with the law of change, if you are to remain on the “transition tightrope” of fulfilling your vision without falling off, then you must guard the thoughts of your mind and heart (Isaiah 26:3,4), remain joyful and thankful, and live in the consciousness of the presence of God (Psalms 16:11).