The glory days.
I remember back in 6th grade I had hit my prime on the football team. I racked up 26 touchdowns that year, I thought I was headed to the NFL. Then I stopped growing and oddly enough stopped being good at football. Sometimes I wish I could go back and relive that season, but that’s not going to happen and I have to live with the fact that it’s a different season of life and no matter how badly I wish to be in the NFL it’s simply not going to happen, I need to focus on what I can do with the gifts and strengths I have now.
We hear senior pastors and youth pastors reminisce about the good old days when they had 500 students show up for a camp way back when or people bring up what happened when “that” person was on staff. Or perhaps they hang on to “one of the best moments ever in our church was when…”
The past. It’s a slippery slope. The longer we live in the past the harder it is to strive for the unseen success of the future.
A mission/vision statement should be able to tell us if we have done our job in the past and keep us focused on what we are chasing after next. Strategy will shift and morph along the way with culture to help accomplish the said vision, this part can be frustrating for those that like consistency and to some point you do indeed need consistency to have the necessary traction to move forward.
So, how do we stay focused on what’s next rather than dwell on what was? Here’s 3 thoughts.
- Keep it current. At your weekly meeting recite your vision statement and ask how people are “currently” seeing this accomplished. Stories from a month ago shouldn’t count. If new examples are consistently showing up people will be continually reminded of your vision statement in a variety of ways. Leaders are repeaters…let others repeat it for you through stories, current stories.
- You are what you think. Maybe you’ve heard it said you are what you eat…well I think this could pertain to ministry. If you think you aren’t measuring up to the past all the time it will take you down and you will be miserable all the time. Think positive, dream big, and be optimistic about what could be next despite the past whether it was an awful program last Sunday or a mission trip that went terribly wrong. I believe when we are willing to change our approach and outlook we can accomplish more.
- Your shining moment will lose it’s luster. I’ve heard some pretty impressive things over the years about student attendance, how many students came to know Jesus at an outreach event, building a state of the art student facility, etc. I hate to be a debbie-downer but guess what? 50 years from now you and your shining moment will be forgotten by almost everyone. When we live in the past we are stifled from moving the kingdom of Christ forward.
Your current moment in history is not more important than the history of a moment.
The moment Christ had victory over death so that each of us could experience life to the fullest. Every moment of ministry should point to the fact life to the fullest is found in Jesus whether it’s a shiny moment or not, it’s why we do what we do. If there is a past we should dwell in, it should be this moment alone that inspires and invigorates all that we do.