By Billy Walker
In a recent article I looked at the phrase, “The one who sees the future will seize the future.” This statement is especially true as it relates to pastoring and church work.
Remembering the ups and down of past years of ministry can be worthwhile as we reflect on lessons we learned along the way. Regularly reliving the past, however, isn’t something that usually works out in our favor.
Instead, the Scriptures tell us God is doing a new thing, putting a new song in our heart, and fortunately, rolling out new mercies every day. So as you look to the future God has for you, your ministry, and your church, what do you see God doing? What can you do to advance His kingdom?
As you consider these questions, here are three areas of life to raise the bar in to help seize the future for the glory of Christ.
1. Raise the bar of Expectation.
God’s Word contains many exhortations that urge us to live a life of expectation. Many people expect little out of life and thus dream small.
But what if we expand our expectations because of our faith in the power of the Spirit and in the work of Christ?
In a recent meeting of board members for our state convention, we were discussing youth camp and the eternal difference these type of experiences have made in people’s lives for decades. I believe it’s possible these youth camps see the results they do because there’s an air of expectation there.
What if we brought that same level of expectation to the Sunday church service?
Jesus said, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). It’s time for us to raise the bar of expectation. After all, we serve a God who thrives on doing the impossible.
Don’t lower your exceptions of what God can do by forgetting to ask for His blessing. Ask God to come through and show how big He is.
2. Raise the bar of Personal Discipleship.
Sometimes, the demands of ministry can be the culprit of a lack of personal discipleship in the lives of church leaders.
At other times, it may be the season of life we’re in. Sometimes, a myriad of family responsibilities and time requirements demand all of our strength and deplete our energy toward basic spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible reading.
Whatever the reasons, stepping away from personal discipleship squelches our enthusiasm for the things of God.
Could it also be that we sometimes mistake quantity for quality?
There may not be time every day to pore over five Psalms, one Proverb, a chapter of the Old Testament, and three chapters from a Pauline Epistle. There may not be time in the day to cover your entire prayer list.
But there’s time for something. And God promises His Word will never come back void.
Maybe on some hectic, demanding days, your times of devotion will consist of moments in your car that you devote to prayer or listening to an audio version of Scripture rather than the radio.
Regardless of what season of life you’re in, consistently seek to hear from God, talk to Him, and worshiping Him. We can’t see and seize the future God has for us without seeking Him first and foremost.
3. Raise the bar of Outward Focus.
It interesting that in Matthew 9:38, Jesus doesn’t ask His disciples to pray for the unsaved or the harvest itself. Instead, He encourages His disciples to pray for more laborers to be sent into fields that are already ripe for harvesting.
It’s good to pray for the lost, but an outward-focused church should begin by praying for believers to become burdened with a world that’s lost and in need of a Savior. The only way to see the fields ready for harvest is to move our gaze from an inward to an outward focus.
Do you want to seize the future God has for you? It can only happen when we see the future from His perspective. And while we may not always be able to see what lies ahead, we can see the one who does.
BILLY WALKER (@billyhwalker) is a third generation pastor of Calvary Church in Southgate, Michigan. He’s vice president of the Billy Walker Evangelistic Association and is president of the Pastor’s Conference for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan.