When you have put an initiative in place, allowed the foundation to set, and put the wheels in motion with others on board to continue moving forward, that usually means it’s time to listen to God and discern what next “one thing” he has for you. That requires stretch. It requires courage to face a new challenge. Yet doing so will provide the necessary momentum to move forward.
As my friend Neil Cole always used to say, “First things first. One thing at a time. Always one more thing.” There’s certainly a balance to be had between doing what you are currently doing well and branching out into more of the work God is calling you to do. Some people lean toward ever refining their “one thing”. Others lean toward moving on to their next “one thing” before they have laid a firm foundation for their last project. It can be hard to find the sweet spot.
How to stretch effectively
When you’re ready to stretch toward what’s next, here are some steps to help you develop a concrete plan for moving forward.
Prayerfully determine what’s next
There is no substitute for spending time in prayer to discern the voice of God. After all, what would be the point in spending time and energy moving toward something that isn’t the right thing anyway? Pray, listen, check what you are hearing against scripture, bounce what you are hearing off others. If the pieces all seem to fit, this may be the new direction God has for you.
Focus the next challenge
Once you’ve gotten a basic outline of what’s next, it’s time to really zero in on what you want to accomplish. Say the next challenge is launching a youth group. That’s great! But what will that look like? Drill down into the specifics and decide what’s truly important. If you are successful, what will this ministry look like in five years? Take some time and write it out. Even though you can’t accurately predict the future, mapping out the desired end product can help you really sharpen your vision.
Strengthen an outward focus
Whatever you do, make sure your next focus has a strong element of outward focus. We aren’t building our own kingdom, but God’s kingdom. Be sure you are about reaching the unreached, those Jesus would have you reach. Incorporate a strong element of service to others. Ensure that any ministry you build has the DNA of Jesus all over it.
Follow through on what God is blessing
Once you begin, things will almost certainly not go as planned. That’s almost a guarantee. But that’s actually an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to look around, reflect, and take stock of what God seems to be doing. Let’s say you meant to start the youth group with middle schoolers, but you happened upon some high schoolers who’ve begun coming. That doesn’t mean you were wrong. It just means you are following along with where God seems to be at work and in whom he seems to be at work. We need to hold our plans loosely.
Coaching toward what’s next
Of course, as you stretch toward what’s next, that’s the ideal time to have a coach alongside you. All of us need someone in our corner, someone we can bounce ideas off of, check our thinking against, and just talk with when things aren’t going as planned. Don’t go it alone. Get a coach.
Coaching is the single most effective tool to help you keep growing. If you don’t have a coach, get one. Dr. Bob Logan is currently taking on new clients. Contact us for a free introductory meeting to learn how coaching can help you meet your ministry goals.
If you have experienced the power of coaching, imagine how much would be accomplished with a team of coaches coming alongside your staff and lay leaders! The Barnabas Ministry Training Kit has everything you need to launch a coaching ministry. Simple, affordable, reproducible and downloadable… launch a Barnabas Ministry at your church today!