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March Activate Post: New life, new ideas, new ministry

What does it take to start a new mission or restart an existing mission?

When I walk to my mailbox, I pass by a small, circular flower bed. All winter I have seen the dark soil, cut-back peonies, and no evidence of tulips. The landscape looks bleak, unattractive, and lifeless. I wonder when winter will end and spring will begin.

The other day as I walked past, I looked down and saw that a tiny green sprout had emerged through the crusty dirt. The peony roots and tulip bulbs were giving the plants new life because they had tapped into the deep reservoir of nutrients within nature’s soil. Now, I look at the flower bed with anticipation and excitement. I can see the promise of white peonies and pink, yellow, and red tulips.

During Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday ending on Easter Sunday, millions of Christians around the globe are on a six-week journey to Easter. What new insight and vision does God impress on your heart and in your mind during these 40 days of Lent? Spring is a great season to cast a vision of what can be. What one new mission outreach will you start this spring? Or, what one existing ministry is overdue to be revamped?

Here, I suggest four dynamics necessary to start or revamp a kingdom ministry.

1. Tap into the deep, unlimited reservoir written in Holy Scripture.
We may lack in biblical knowledge but the Bible never lacks in wisdom. The Bible provides direction for a new ministry God may have planned for your church.

2. Pray, rely on, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirt.
Spring is a perfect time to pray and dream. When I need to be creative or start a new thing, I find myself praying something like, “Dear God, help me to join You in the quiet place to listen, hear, and be led by your still quiet voice. Help me to capture Your vision, share Your vision, and then watch Your vision development into a vital new ministry. Lord, give me a level of faith and resolve as Mary’s affirmation, ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ (Luke 1:38)”

A fresh word from the Holy Spirit always trumps crowd consensus and competing voices. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s direction as you dream about the future.

3. Be willing to take risks.
Taking a risk will sometimes bring us face to face with one universal fear—the fear of rejection. If I want my church members to like me all of the time, then I run the risk of leading from popularity. I will thereby miss one of my God-infused roles as a prophetic voice in the mist of information overload.

Meghan Keaney Anderson provides a unique perspective on how to overcome the risk of rejection when leading people. In her leadership article, 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Manager, she wrote, “Don’t aim to be liked. Aim to be transformational.”

4. Stand on the edge, point to the vision, and call others to join Jesus in His mission.
What an awesome privilege Christian leaders have when they exercise their prophetic calling and role as they cast vision of a new ministry. Visionary leadership involves challenging the faith community to go and do what they have resisted or have never thought of before. Church leaders courageously foretell of a new ministry or the birth of a new mission outreach.

Dr. Eugene Habecker, former president of Taylor University, writes about the marks of courageous leaders. One of the characteristics he lists is only possible by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. He said, work hard to "absorb the chaos, give back calm, and provide hope."

Spring is a time of new beginnings, new life, and new growth bursting through from the crusty soil. Shrubs sprout new branches, trees bud, and birds migrate north. Spring holds promise. Spring is a great time to cast the vision of what God has planted in your heart!

Would you like to benefit from a mission partner walking with you as you lead your congregation in the launch of a new ministry or new mission outreach? TMS Global’s church ministry department stands ready to serve your church through our Activate training and coaching. One of our team members would like hear about the new ministry you are planning to start this spring season. Contact us online or call 800.478.8893.

Roger Wright is the Midwest regional director for church ministry.