This week I’ve been pondering space, which seems to be increasingly hard to find. Our world seems to be getting noisier and busier, but also ministry demands tend to increase over time for preachers too (presumably demand drops off eventually!) In the midst of the busy schedule of the immediate, we need to get time to dream and to plan.
1. Planning future preaching. Somewhere in the schedule it is worth making time to think through ideas for preaching beyond the present series or preferred sections. It is easy to get repetitive, or even stuck, when there is no space to pull back, look up and look ahead. Some preachers take a week out each year and sketch out a rough plan for a year’s worth of preaching. For others it might not be so organised, but there is still benefit to thinking through where you might do well to go in your preaching. Obviously circumstances change, the needs of the church change, there has to be room for change. But it isn’t good leadership to always be in a purely reactive mode. What sections of the canon have you not touched for a while, or ever? What types of preaching have you not used in a while, or ever? What subjects would stretch you, and others?
2. Planning future ministry. There is more to ministry than preaching. But if we live in the cycle of deadlines, we can easily fall into just preaching. But what about training others? That doesn’t happen accidentally. You won’t mentor and launch others, or mentor to replace yourself, if you don’t put some planning into it. What about writing? Some should stop trying. Others should create time to make it happen. What about training I should be getting now for ministry in the future? That could be as informal as reading on a subject, or as formal as pursuing a degree in an area. None of this happens by accident.
3. Dreaming future ministry. Somehow planning isn’t enough. God is able to do abundantly more than we ask or even imagine. Do we dare to dream? For some of us, God doesn’t have much to do to surpass our imaginations! We need to create space to dream of what could be, what should be, what might be. I know this seems crazy, but imagine if . . . and if God would . . . then maybe . . . It is hard to quantify what might happen if we all took time to pray and dream, chasing the desires of our hearts with a God who delights to give in line with the yearning He has birthed in us.