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Tuesday
Sep112018

Staying Power

I have been thinking about change and how change is inevitable in life. Change has a good side to it, and a bad side to it, and it all depends on what changes. (Sounds profound doesn’t it?)

Change is essential if you want to be a successful person with a successful career. 

Many authors and psychologists have written about the characteristics that it takes to make people successful. Change will need to take place if these characteristics are not present:

  • Optimism
  • Resilience
  • Creativity
  • Emotional Awareness
  • Self Confidence
  • Imagination
  • Focus
  • Passion
  • Intelligence
  • Energy
  • Curiosity
  • Talent
  • Perseverance

One author said that out of all these characteristics that help people succeed, the most important trait is perseverance. It also seems that it is the one characteristic that most great leaders and organizations must exhibit and apply to all the others. 

Perseverance is a character trait that is directly connected to the vision and call God gave you as a person and a Christian leader. If we apply perseverance to our vision we need to know that vision can greatly impact our lives. For example, the scriptures teach that without vision the people perish, so vision is necessary to keeping an organization growing. However, vision is also the most disappointing part of any organization, especially if you are not seeing that vision become reality. For example, recently a ministry leader told me that the ministry he runs has a vision to make an impact in the city for Christ. When I pressed him further to find out what that impact would look like, it was less defined. My concern for anybody with a vision is the reality of two things: 

1. Does the vision make God look great and you small? If so, you might have a chance to succeed. (Many use God as a way to call attention to themselves.)

2. Do the people of the vision have the perseverance to endure the journey of giving birth to the vision and growing it to maturity? 

All visions are subject to the amount of perseverance you have to see it through. 

  • Without perseverance we quit the vision.
  • Without perseverance your vision will be limited.
  • Without perseverance you can lose all vision

This is why so many visions never get from inception to the construction stage, because perseverance has not changed their lives. I realize there are many factors that go into seeing a vision come to fruition, but perseverance is a key ingredient for any vision caster to exercise. 

This idea of quitting my involvement in ministry work is a problem. The turnover in most churches today is quite high so getting training and keeping volunteers is always a challenge. According to Volunteer Match President Greg Baldwin, volunteer rates are falling because we as a nation don’t invest enough resources into the nonprofit sector. Without resources, nonprofits simply don’t have the capacity to effectively engage volunteers. Other causes could be the fact that more people are overworked with less free time to volunteer. Others say people are simply lazier than they used to be, or are more interested in doing their own things during their free time. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in recent years the percentage of Americans volunteering has dwindled and is now at its lowest level in a decade. Last year the volunteer rate was 25.4 percent, or 62.6 million people, compared with 29 percent of the population in 2003. 

I think the bottom line may be that people do not have the perseverance they once had to engage in volunteering, plus the trends in culture are changing.  

The message of the gospel depends on volunteers to make it known through their associations with churches and ministries. If we lose the volunteer base for doing the work of the ministry we will be struggling to make Him known in the world around us. I remember as a young Christian the expectancy of His return was a major incentive to go door-to-door doing Evangelism Explosion. That was a major thrust for many years across the country, and it required great quantities of people to accomplish it. I wonder if we would do the same today?  If we cease talking about the coming of Lord in our churches and ministries, the natural result is a lack of urgency to tell others. Let’s face it, the church has changed, and this could be one of those changes that isn’t a good change. Perhaps that is the biggest change of all - we have lost our sense of urgency for His return. 

I suppose that also fits into an end time scenario, as 2 Peter 3:3-4 states:

Most important, know this: in the last days scoffers will come, jeering, living by their own cravings, and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? After all, nothing has changed—not since the beginning of creation, nor even since the ancestors died.”

We must retain our perseverance in knowing that He could return at any moment - it could mean the difference between the message being told, or the message replaced by other priorities. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 

 

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