I have noticed a shift in my thinking over the past year. Learning slowly to move from being a worker to a modeler and equipper has been one the most difficult things for me personally. I recently told a someone that it felt like I was playing a game of Twister, with one foot firmly on blue, another foot awkwardly bent on red with outstretched fingers reaching waaaayyyy up for the yellow.
To give you a better picture of how I viewed our ministry roles, think of the guys who start The Wave at football games. You’ve seen them, a few on the sidelines or in the bleachers will stand up, stick their hands high in the air, sit down and repeat the process. A few more around them join in, then other sections notice until finally people catch on and there’s movement all around the stadium. It’s fun to be a part of it and exciting to watch. But it’s not sustainable. Eventually The Wave dies down and stops altogether.
This kind of wave, or ministry approach, puts all the success on the wave starters …. as well as all the failure. Starting the wave again, after the initial momentum has died, may not work as well as the first time. If the crowd doesn’t respond, the wave starters get frustrated and quit trying to get it going again. They know what to expect. All that effort and the wave will end up the same as before …. a burst of enthusiastic participation for a short time and then nothing to show for it.
It took a long time for me to get that.
Today I see our roles differently, as well as the ministry approach. The imagery of a short-lived Wave created by us in a football stadium has been replaced with the constant of God’s ocean waves. He creates the movement. He sustains it. His waves are always rolling, always beckoning.
That makes our roles and approach so different. We are no longer responsible for trying to creating wave action. Now we can focus on inviting many, many others to join us in what is already happening.
To carry that ocean imagery a bit further, we provide people with the tools …. a catamaran, boogie board, snorkel or surfboard …. and encourage them to get in the water with us. We want to teach them how to use the equipment, let them do it with us to build their confidence so they see they CAN do it themselves. (Seriously, if I can, YOU CAN!). With practice, skills improve. Soon we see people enjoying each opportunity, engaging with confidence and excitement, catching waves of their own and inviting their friends to come along and do it too.
We provide the opportunity, equip, teach and empower people to engage in a God created and God sustained movement for his pleasure and for His glory. God’s waves, His mission, always rolling.