I had a huge wake up call in Florida. I moved there thinking I would spend the rest of my life in that city. I sacrificed. I saved money. I raised support. We took a huge step of faith. We started and established a church.
I remember in August of 2011 when I felt God impress on my heart that our associate/youth pastor was to take it over. I did not want to hear it. Over the next several months I fasted, prayed and sought advice from trusted mentors. All signs were pointing to the inevitable. I was not going to be there forever.
The passage of Scripture here speaks of this very thing. David had an inexperienced son who was to take over. Instead of David being insecure and looking at Solomon's limitations, he made "preparations."
David said, "My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the LORD shall be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all lands. Therefore now I will make preparation for it." So David made ample preparations before his death. (1 Chronicles 22:5 NASB)
::How are you preparing the next generation for ministry?
You are building your ministry for someone else. You are always preparing it for someone else. What you are building is not just for your enjoyment, but for the next person.
Here is the way to accomplish this:
1. Don't base it on your personality alone.
Don't put pictures up of you and your wife around the church. It may make you feel good, but the next guy has to take them down. Don't build everything based on your talent and personality alone. Even though the church will take on your personality, don't make it that.
2. Don't base your ministry on your programs.
If you and your wife run all the programs and administrate everything, then when you are called out, it will fail. Most pastors (especially young, like myself) initiate and start programs. They run them, put energy behind them and make it their own. Remember, what you start, you will have to sustain. Don't try to carry a program or ministry on your shoulders. Build ministry around people's passions. Pray and wait for the right people. Let God build it through the people, not "on" you.
3. Don't just "do" church.
Build a culture that has healthy systems and healthy leaders over those systems. Build a culture where the people own the vision and when it comes down to it, with or without you they will take it on.
We launched Thrive Church in 2012. It has been wonderful. But what I have learned is that we were able to do that because a group of people helped start a movement 63 years ago. I am seeing success because "preparations" were made.
Say this daily, "It's not about me; it's about the next guy. This is not for me; it's for the next generation. I will not be here forever; but I want this culture and vision to outlive me."
Now- for all my Thriver's reading this. I plan to be here for a while. Take a deep breath! :)