There is a tension in many ministry leaders who are not only serving in their current ministry role, but dream of what is to come in their lives and many times are already serving in other arenas. Worship leaders who also sing in other places. Youth pastors who speak for youth conferences. Pastors who are also writers and the list goes on. There is no doubt God is using our current season to produce in us gifts for the next season of ministry. But we must be patient. We must practice being obedient to where God has placed us as well as where God is leading us.
In 1 Kings 17, Elijah was obedient to the Lord and sat at Cherith Creek. The ravens brought food and he drank the water from the creek. Eventually, the creek dried up. Then, the Lord told him what do to next. Elijah didn’t leave or fret, he waited on the Lord. He didn’t leave as it looked like the creek may dry up, but waited there until the Lord spoke, which didn’t happen until after the creek dried up.
We need to be faithful in serving where God has placed us now. And as we are faithful in this role – doing all we can to advance the kingdom, God is birthing in us new things and new experiences ready for future use. This new dream may be about where you are are serving and how God will continue to give you longevity there. Other times, it may be a new place, a new ministry or a new challenge.
This concept was highlighted to me through a book called Leading from the Second Chair: Serving Your Church, Fulfilling Your Role, and Realizing Your Dreams (Pick up a copy at Amazon). Anyone who is on staff and isn’t the lead pastor is leading from the second chair. It’s important to understand the tensions that come with needing to be focused on a specific area while still keeping the good of the whole organization close to your heart. It means understanding that you may not be in this role for ever, but while you are, you will give it your all.
Practicing both now and later means you are faithful to both your current ministry and your potential ministry roles to come. How are you faithful to the latter? By being faithful now. Some of the best advice I could give someone who has a dream of serving the greater church would be to serve faithfully and effectively where you are right now. Make the most of the opportunity now. Figure out how to grow and expand your ministry now. In doing so, you will be faithful in the small things and “later” will take care of itself.