One very important thing I learned from Jim Wideman on my last visit to Tennessee involved pacing in ministry. We’ve all got dreams for our ministries and more than anything, we’d like to see them all come trueâ€¦ sooner than later. If you’re like me, you get frustrated with how long change seems to take. Can you relate?
I’ve had the privilege of seeing the handiwork of Brother Jim at both Church on the Move as well as at World Outreach Church. The difference is night and day. The Children’s Ministry at World Outreach Church looks nothing like the Children’s Ministry at Church on the Move. Although he’s made a lot of changes in the last two years, I guess I just expected more (don’t get me wrong, Jim does everything with excellence. It’s just when you see what he did at Church on the Move you kinda expect that). When people would ask him about it, he’d smile and say he’s working on it and he figures he’ll have everything the way he wants it within five to ten years. That way he’ll have a good 20 years to enjoy the changes he’s made. WOW!
For 90% of us we have difficulty fathoming a ten year run at something, much less 30 years. Jim said the problem with him in his first three churches is that he approached ministry as a sprint rather than a marathon. When building a ministry that will last and make a significant impact for decades to come, it may take a little more time than 2-4 years to outfit.
One clarification that Brother Jim did make shouldn’t be missed. He explained that we should all aim for excellence and strive to make what we do great. No one can complain with great. If what we have is great and we’re in the process of developing something even better, then there’s nothing wrong with that. Our third and fourth graders might not be able to experience the incredible program we have planned for 2-3 years from now, but what they will get is great and that’s okay. It’s a good thing if your ministry resembles a marathon rather than a sprint. Since coming back from Tennessee I’ve been mentally scrapping some things I was thinking about starting up this year. I really want to do all those things, but I’ve got time, right?
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