Does God’s vision for our life, church and ministry have to be big to be real?
I keep hearing that it does. Sayings like “if your vision isn’t big enough to scare you, it’s not from God” have been popular for quite some time now. Apparently we’re all supposed to have a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal — an acronym popularized by Jim Collins in his book Built to Last) if we’re walking in faith and greatness.
I’m just not sure that’s a necessary part of faith or obedience.
When Steady Is Better Than Scary
No one can live a healthy life, emotionally or spiritually, in a constant state of chasing a BHAG. Not even a life of fully dedicated, passionate faith.
Sometimes our desire to chase one big vision after another is more about being addicted to the adrenaline rush of our own oversized passion than following the simple commands of God.
Most people — including most pastors and other leaders — find God’s will in steady, simple obedience far more often than we find it in massive, scary leaps. One step at a time. Day by day. Hand to the plow.
There are hundreds of millions of believers living in consistent faithfulness without ever doing something anyone would consider to be audacious. Including millions of pastors and church leaders.
The Obedience Factor
Does God ever give us a scary leap to take? Of course. I’ve taken them. And the Bible is filled with them. But they’re not as inevitable, necessary or constant as we’ve been led to believe.
The test of whether-or-not we’re following a God-sized vision isn’t the fear factor or the size factor, it’s the obedience factor. Sometimes the scariest part about what God is calling us to do is how ordinary it feels.
Faith and leadership are more about long stretches of waiting, wandering and wondering than massive, scary leaps. Even in the Bible there are years, decades and centuries of wilderness and silence between the short bursts of miracles.
Do we want to follow God enough to be willing to slow down occasionally? To keep walking even when the path is mundane? To be obedient even if it doesn’t get our blood pumping? To feel bored, but keep moving forward anyway?
Faith Doesn’t Just Leap, It Plods
Faithfulness through the dull times is just as important and faith-building as the passionate leaps everyone gets excited about.
Spending years tending to an ailing mother until she passes into the arms of Jesus is just as faith-stretching as promoting an event that will allow you to preach to a massive crowd on Sunday.
Pastoring a 150-year-old church in a poor rural area is just as kingdom-minded as launching a new church in an up-and-coming, dynamically-growing city.
Faith is not just about massive, scary leaps. It’s also about consistent, steady steps.
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