3 Ways For Church Leaders To Maximize The Waiting Period
Growing up, we often played a game called Red Light - Green Light. I called it the Waiting Game. Essentially, the first person to reach the finish line won. When the caller said “green light,” everyone would run as quickly forward as possible, but when they yelled “red light,” everyone would have to stop in their tracks.
We would be eliminated from the game if we moved forward while “red light” was called, so usually we would be on the tips of our toes falling forward in anticipation of the ability to move forward. So often we are in that same position in our ministry journey: we must wait until we get the green light, which can be utterly frustrating. So how do we wait well?
Here are some tips that may help if you feel like you're in the waiting game:
1. Engage in the journey
Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”
I sometimes wonder if David wrote this as a reminder to himself. Talk about a guy who had to embrace the waiting game! You are going to be king, but for now go tend to your sheep; You will be king, but right now you are being hunted down by the current king; You will make sure the temple is rebuilt, but you will have to pass the job down to your son.
It is sometimes difficult to wait when we see the end calling us, but there is no space for the journey if we can’t wait. Can you imagine what kind of king David would have been without the experiences and growth he found in his journey?
Being a shepherd made him a great warrior and protector. Being pursued by his enemies made him cling to God. His failures made him learn about humility, consequences, and forgiveness. His victories taught him to celebrate the win and remember by whose hand the victory always comes.
2. Embrace experiences
Just like we can’t truly learn from someone else’s mistakes, we also can’t fully learn from someone else’s experiences. We can read the same books, go to the same conferences, listen to the same podcasts, but it just isn’t the same. We must learn how to work through situations as they occur naturally. This takes time.
Our Search Consultant Team at Vanderbloemen is made of “the old folks” of our team. The reason for this is that time is a necessary element for the experience needed to best service our clients. We have walked through and learned from hard ministry seasons. We have learned from failures as well as victories. We have been mentored and have mentored others. We have seen not only short term but also long term effects of decisions, leadership, and investments of others and ourselves.
As Solomon reminds us, there is a time and season for all things. We can’t fully understand harvest when we have only experienced the planting season. Embrace those experiences, even when they're hard. They grow us.
3. Focus on today’s ministry
I am near-sighted in one eye and far-sighted in the other. This makes for some challenges for my eye doctor, but is great for me when I don’t have my contacts in and need to see something far or near. I close my right eye if I need to read and close my left eye if I need to see the time on the clock across the room. Similarly, vision has everything to do with our ministry journey.
If our vision only allows us to see the things that are far away, we can’t focus on the things that are important today. The ministry that we have today, in this 24-hour period, is a building block and catalyst for the ministry that will happen down the road. Although God has a very specific plan for us down the road, He has a very specific plan for us today as well.
What does God want you to focus on today? How has He grown you recently that is getting you ready for what lies ahead?