Nathan R. Perry
Are your sights focused on the destination or are you disillusioned by the problems you face?
As a leader, naturally you start out with a destination in mind. However, it is easy to lose focus when storms arise and become lost in the disillusion.
Since childhood I wanted nothing more than to be a preacher. I am the fifth generation of Pentecostal preachers. As a teenager, I had my future all panned out. I knew where I wanted to minister. I knew how I wanted to minister. I knew when I should change from one level of ministry to another. The only prerequisite was that I would not evangelize. Then at the age of sixteen, I felt the definite call of God and zealously waited for my plan to unfold. Life was moving along according to plan my plans! Then, without warning, God stepped in and called me to evangelize.
I offered a strong rebuttal as to why God’s evangelical calling wouldn’t work; I was young, I didn’t have any money, I had no revivals scheduled, I wasn’t married. Then there was the best reason of all; I couldn’t preach. All these excuses didn’t change God’s mind so I packed up and started evangelizing. For the next nine years I traveled back and forth across America and overseas. After the first eight months in evangelistic ministry, God blessed me with a wonderful wife who willingly traveled with me the remaining eight and a half years.
Choice, Not Chance, Determine Human Destiny.
During this evangelistic outreach, we were always content accomplishing that which we felt God wanted us to do. Still, there were times when I saw MY “pre-planned” destination fading further and further into obscurity.
I sat down one day to contemplate the future. I charted out my main goal in life… the final destination. The destination I felt God wanted me to reach while on this earth. I listed the steps necessary to procure my objective, certain things I would need to accomplish, and areas where work was needed.
Knowing I could not achieve a number of the things on my list while living out of a suitcase, I made a secondary list. This list contained particulars that would help me contemporaneously reach my ultimate goal. I still possess that piece of paper.
It reads as follows:
Steps to Main Goal
Looking back now, I can see how God was beneficial in helping me remain focused on my final destination. Each list bolstering and reinforcing the next.
When the disciples were fighting the winds and waves they forgot what Jesus said. When they launched out on this journey, Jesus made a decision and gave them directions. He clearly stated, “Let us cross over to the other side” (Mark 4:35). Jesus’ intentions were clear. He knew where He was, what He was doing, and where He wanted to go.
The disciples are scrambling for their lives. Fear has taken the place of faith and they have forgotten the words of Jesus.
The greatest danger for any leader or follower, during dark times and storms, is the danger of forgetting one’s destination. Forgetting the promises of God is equivalent to a death wish.
I have seen churches and organizations go through rough times, and when the storm calms, their whole purpose is changed. Although unintentional, during the process of bailing water out of the boat, they resume a defense mode and never return to the offensive position.
This is when the maintenance ministry comes into play. Churches and organizations that originate in a fire of revival can comfortably settle into a maintenance mode. Leaders get comfortable with their position and don’t want to ruffle feathers or make waves. They’re thinking about the past storms that they have encountered through their years of leadership. Rather than thrusting forward, through perhaps another storm — reaching for the destination, they relax and try to “Hold the Fort.”
Jesus had to calm the disciples in order to refocus their desires on the original destination. Not any-where in Scripture do I find justification for maintenance ministry. God is not looking for leaders that are “holding on until the end.”
This last day church needs last day leaders who can reiterate with Paul…
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Peter wrote about it like this.
2 Peter 3:10-14
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;
Everything, as we know it now, will one day be gone. All that will last is our eternity with Jesus. Therefore we must continue “looking forward.”
Look at what John writes.
3 John 1:5-6
Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well,
John stated that we do well when we send people forward. I understand he was referring to hospitality and kindness, yet this concept could easily apply to leading people forward in ministry, disallowing the destination to be dismissed due to a storm or battle.
You may lead a large church, a home cell group, or
a small business. There must be continual reminders, pointing members to the destination, if you ever plan on getting to the “other side.”
Then they came to the other side of the sea,
Peter Drucker, at the age of 13, was asked by his teacher what he wanted to be remembered for. Not having a clue what to answer, the teacher instructed him saying, “If you still don’t know by the time you’re 50, you will have wasted your life.” Mr. Drucker says he still asks himself the question. Maybe this will inspire you to focus and refocus until you accomplish the goal and reach the destination God has ordained for you.
Most People Know That Christopher Columbus Arrived In The Western Hemisphere “Officially” On October 12, 1492. But Few People Remember When He Set Sail From Spain:
August 3. Were It Not For That Beginning, He Would Not Have Gained The New World.
As one business leader said, “I got to the top of the ladder, only to realize it was leaning against the wrong wall.” Don’t let this be said about you. Find the direction in which God wants you to go, discover the destination God wants you to acquire, then pursue it with focus.
The above article, “Destination” was written by Jonathan R. Perry. The article was excerpted from Perry’s book Is There a Leader in The Ship.
The material is copyrighted and should not be repainted under any other name or author. However, this material may freely be used for personal study or purposes.