Thursday, September 26, 2013


A short time ago, I had the privilege of speaking at my church's morning worship service about dreams. It wasn't about the esoteric, subconscious, whimsical kind of dream, but rather the kind of dreaming related to goals and desires. As often happens, I felt there was a lot more that could be said on the subject than I was able to share.

A couple of years ago, I was forced to resign as children's pastor (after 15 years).  It was nothing of a moral nature, nothing scandalous, just a matter of politics and marketing. Since children's ministry was such a huge part of my life for so long, I suddenly found myself in a time of transition between what I knew and the great unknown.  I believe God used that to steer me toward the message about dreams.

As I thought further, I came up with three totally random principles that I'd like to share. I'm sure there are more (and for the benefit of those of you in management, motivation, or career building fields, I'm well aware that there is a strict technical difference among dreams, vision, goals, and so on.  I'm sort of lumping everything together in this post and I'll leave it to you to fine tune the definitions).

1.  Seek counsel that will help you, not discourage you. Surround yourself with people who will be your biggest cheerleaders and supporters.  Now here's the caveat: wise counsel can and should let you know if you're not ready, not able, or not suited to a task or ministry. But there is a difference between the critic who doesn't "get it" and thinks it's his duty to let you know that he doesn't think you're the man or woman for the job and the wise counselor who will help you define, refine, and adjust your dreams and goals.
(if you are in children's ministry, you might invest in some "coaching" services, such as Kidology, Jim Wideman, and others).

2.  Surprise people with the best.  Remember Susan Boyle? She had a dream to perform on stage and got her chance on Britain's Got Talent. The judges rolled their eyes and the audience snickered...until Ms. Boyle sang. Jaws dropped and eyes widened as this powerful and beautiful voice rang out. Go to YouTube and search for "emotional" or "surprising" auditions for shows like America's Got Talent, X-Factor, or the Voice (make sure you grab some tissues!). What these videos have in common is the total shock and amazement of the judges and audience when the least likely candidate nails a performance.
   In like fashion, we should always put our best proverbial foot forward in everything we do, especially matters pertaining to our goals, aspirations, and dreams. Go beyond what is expected and do the unexpected. Polish that presentation, dress a notch above the standard dress code, make sure all the elements of your lesson are ready and in place, practice and refine that song. And when your best comes out, the observers will be amazed.

3.  Patience and flexibility go together. One of the most profound sayings in pursuing our objectives is this gem: "Lather, rinse, repeat."  Actually, it came from a shampoo bottle, but think of the implications.  If you work up the suds as you follow your dreams and desires, but somewhere along the way, you get knocked off course, what do you do? For me, it was (and still is) a time of evaluation, re-equipping, and enrichment.  It's a "rinsing" time.  Maybe the Lord wants me back in a different children's ministry.  Maybe He wants me to return to a broader teaching ministry. And maybe He just wants me to write books and articles.  At this point, I am patiently waiting until time to "lather" again.
   By the way, do not confuse waiting with idleness. Sitting around doing nothing is a dream killer. Read, study, take a course, keep your mind active with a hobby, and keep your eyes open for new opportunities.

What would you add to the list?  I would love to hear your feedback and comments.