I was finally able to tell the congregation about thinking Orange and our move from Children’s Ministry to Family Ministry. The “announcement” was a little long, but I believe it was well received. We had fliers passed out and a short video to show.
And the message that I was saying – parents are the spiritual leaders of their children, and the church is here to partner with them – was being said by our pastors and other leaders.
It’s still a long road ahead of us in figuring out our next steps and how family ministry works for our church, but it’s like something big was lifted off my chest. This felt like a long time coming.
People have noted that I have a lot of patience. Working with children have certainly lengthened it, but I’m not always patient. I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl. A NaNoWriMo pantser. A spontaneous shopper. A wandering tourist. A hobby collector because everything looks like fun.
So whenever God gives me a vision or an idea that needs time to grow, the anticipation gets to me every time.
And Orange? Family Ministry? It’s a growing kind of vision. Months, maybe years, of growing. And ooh, it’s getting to me. I’m itching to go. I want everything to be in place and be in the place where everything is working the way they’re supposed to.
There’s a song that goes, “you can’t jump the track, we’re like cars on a cable” (Breathe (2AM) by Anna Nalick).
I cannot jump ahead. I can’t jump to that place where everything’s in its place. And even if I can, there would be something else there to wait on, pray over, plan, and anticipate.
When God gives you a vision for the ministry, here are some things I’ve learned:
You’re not alone. Not only will God always be with you, but God will send people to come alongside you. Or the people who are already walking next to you will receive the same vision from God. It may look differently, but it will have the same heart.
When God began creating in me the vision and desire for family ministry, He gave my pastor’s wife a revelation from Titus, for the older to teach/lead the younger. It was an answer to her prayer in regards to the youth ministry. It looks different, but the heart is the same. Parents are the spiritual leaders and they need to get involved. Her vocabulary changed to reflect that, as did mine.
If you feel alone, stop and look around. Stop and talk to trusted friends or mentors. Stop and breathe, because you’re not alone. Sometimes it’s hard to find the people who will walk alongside us because nobody is communicating. Sometimes, we need to be the first ones to speak up. So speak up!
And if nobody is coming alongside you after speaking up, it’s time to wait.
There are waiting times. I got so excited about Orange and family ministry that I was talking about it, but nobody was understanding me. I was like a babbling baby with only a handful of words. I had to wait and learn more about Orange and family ministry. Then I talked again. Learned some more. Talked again. And the people I spoke with – my sounding boards 🙂 – started to understand.
The longest waiting time for me was bringing the vision to the pastors above me. I told them what I was up to – learning about Orange, reading books on family ministry – and told them I’ll learn more and let them know. Then I waited before bringing the vision to my team and the other church leaders. Then waited before being able to bring the vision to the congregation.
In the waiting, I grew in wisdom and knowledge. It was an active wait. I didn’t lounge around and do other things. I read, researched, asked questions, and asked for prayers. Also, in the waiting, God went ahead of me. I believe He created a similar desire in the hearts and spirits of the people. He prepared them to receive what He first gave me.
The waiting times are necessary. Don’t be discouraged when you have to wait. God is preparing you and the people around you.
There will be agreement. When I told the pastor above me about Orange – and she told the senior pastor & his wife, also a pastor herself – it resonated with their hearts and they gave me the go-ahead. I told my team and it resonated with their hearts. I told the other church leaders and it resonated with their hearts.
I firmly believe that God is a God of order. He will not do something that will break up His church. Here’s a brutal honesty: if God is leading you to do something in your ministry that is creating disunity and chaos, you’re in the wrong place.
Perhaps you’re right theologically and practically, and the pastors or deacons are wrong. But when you bring up the issues, there’s no agreement. Even after you pray and fast and reason and wait, there’s no agreement. You may be in the wrong place. It’s okay to move on and find your community (your tribe, if you like that vernacular).
But if the pastors and leaders are wrong and leading the church in a wrong way, don’t I have a duty to stop them/steer them in the right direction? If your church is under a denomination, there should be a way to report what’s going on in a proper way, through the proper channels. Do that. Then leave everything up to God. God is the Savior of His churches, not you or me.
More often, what I’ve seen were leaders who refused to get on board and unity with the other pastors and leaders. God gave them a vision for their ministry, but it moved in a different direction than the church’s vision. They were in the wrong place. It was okay that they moved on and found their community.
The vision grows. Like a properly cared for seed, a vision from God grows. How do you know? One of the first indicators I’ve noticed is the vocabulary. Your vocabulary will change. As you learn more about the vision and talk more about it, you will have new vocabulary. Then the vocabulary of the people around you will change as they come alongside you.
Orange is not just a fruit or a color to me. It’s an idea of the light of the church (yellow) combining with the love of the family (red). Soon, I can see, it will become a system of how we deliver the Gospel and spiritual discipline to our children. We’re not there yet. The vision is still growing!
We’re not a children’s ministry, we’re a family ministry. A few people have picked up on this. It’s spreading. It’s growing!
Another indicator are the ideas and resources that will flow your way. You will become more aware of the help around you. You will find them, and they will find you.
As the vision grows, more and more I feel like I’m only along for the ride. God is at the wheel, leading the way. And that’s how I want it.
Has God given you a vision for your ministry? I hope you remember that you’re not alone, there are waiting times, there will be agreement between you and other pastors and church leaders, and the vision grows in God’s perfect time.