I started a new devotional on a whim this morning from Pastor Brian Houston of Hillsong Church. This is a church that I have followed musically for about 17 years. I remember listening to “I Can’t Stop Falling In Love With You” circa 2003-2004, thinking “Man, this is some hokey Christian music!” Then years later with Darlene Z leading the way, I fell in love with “God He Reigns”, and “All for Love”. Now they are still ripping my heart from my chest with music like “What a Beautiful Name”. They have changed, and it is so evident in their music stylings.
But this devotional is called “Live, Love, Lead”, and this morning’s devo was entitled “A Big Life”. In it, Pastor Houston talked about how the Hillsong that we see now was only once a blank sheet of paper for a young minister who knew that he had a God-sized dream, but not the God-sized faith required to achieve it. He talked about how he battled his insecurities with public speaking and such, and how God was faithful even with his own little faith to produce these days of living what were only dreams way back when.
You know, I thought that I knew what a vision was. I always said that God wanted to do big things in my life, and in my family. Now that my our family does children’s ministry in our church, (yes, I say our family, because we all end up serving together, no matter how little), now I truly see what a vision, a BIG vision, is. My wife and I spend endless evenings talking about what needs to be done, and then we wonder how to get it accomplished. We have frustrated moments when we wrestle with decisions. We wonder aloud how God expects us to accomplish even the smallest task, like how we can take roll more efficiently in a way that does not use up valuable class time. We toss around ideas like moving away from video series to a more interactive format that requires more of every teacher and volunteer. We struggle with not placing too much on our team, but at the same time, we know that we can not do any of this without them shouldering as big a load as we are. Then we don’t want them shouldering too big a load because we don’t want to lose them to exhaustion. And while none of this might resonate to any of you as anything God-sized, it does to us, because for the first time we are seeing the Big-ness of a dream of ministry from God in our lives, and to be honest, it leaves our nerves a bit frazzled. So we have to bake cookies at 9:30 at night and watch something mindless to turn off the endless thought dancing. Really.
See, we have never lead anything like this in our lives. They say working with children is just like working with children in school, but that’s a lie. And so while it is familiar, it is totally different, and we have gotten a vision of what God wants to do with this. It is staggering, not in its numbers, but in its impact. The audacity of us thinking that children’s ministry is family ministry, and we have to reach the families through the kids and the kids through the families. How dare we believe that our church will become even healthier and more vibrant when our children are excited about coming to worship and knowing God. How dare we think for a moment that these children can lead the church into a deeper understanding of who God is? That our children can challenge the rest of us by their worship. Who are we to think that children’s ministry can be fun for all involved…even the teachers?
Like I said, big stuff, because this is not the impression that I have ever had about children’s ministry. Did I mention we never wanted it? God is funny that way.
..Which brings me to another thought.
It’s too simple a thought to believe that God wants to do big things for us. God wants to do BIG things THROUGH us. The bigness of God that we experience in our lives is for the purpose of others receiving the outcome and overflow of those blessings.
We don’t despise these small beginnings because they are also BIG beginnings, and if we allow God a blank piece of paper in our lives, one day we will look back to see how He not only filled that paper with dreams but also brought them to pass and allowed us to live in dream days. The same will happen in your lives. I believe this to my core.
He’s just that faithful. Imagine that!