I Have a Dream - Do You?
DATE POSTED: 03/01/2016  |     |   Category: Friend to Friend, Leadership, Pastors

photo-1441943250180-ea34e997ffadBy Morgan Malone

Genesis 37 introduces us to the character of Joseph, the son of Jacob. He was one of 12 brothers, and he was his father’s favorite, which caused a lot of division in the family. He was considered a “dreamer” (not a term of endearment) by his brothers due to the dreams he shared with them. “Listen to this dream I had: we were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it. His brothers said to him, ‘Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?’ And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he said.” Joseph’s dreams were challenging for them. In later years, Joseph’s dreams enabled him to persevere through slavery and persecution to become the prime minister of Egypt. Joseph, the one despised by his brothers, became the one who saved them. Joseph saw his dreams fulfilled.

In the life of the church, dreams for the future can be helpful. Studies tell us that between 75-90% of churches are either plateaued or declining. These studies confirm that churches are losing ground in the eternal battle and the expansion of the kingdom of God. Many of these churches have lost their ability to dream. They have had their dreams shattered.

Churches and their pastors have had at least four dream busters.

  1. Focusing on past dreams – Churches that have been around for a few decades have a tendency to look more to the past instead of looking ahead. Often times the congregation has aged and there is a tendency to talk about the good ‘ole days. No matter how far one looks ahead, there will always be those who remember how it was in their prime and they will remind everyone of that time period. The problem comes when that becomes the theme of every conversation about the church. New dreams cannot begin to take shape because all the focus is on the past.
  2. Getting lost in the moment – Churches can become so busy with the urgent they fail to take time out to look ahead. A continual crisis can dominate the dream time of the pastor and church leaders. Financial difficulties, staffing, facility issues and church conflict can take time and focus away from the true work of the church.
  3. Competing dreams – A church may have many dreams, but no single unifying dream. This leads to multiple dreams from the various ministry leaders within the church. While each ministry is important, without a unifying direction competition will occur among the dreamers.
  4. Fear of change – A leader can share a visionary dream, but unfortunately all that the members hear is change. The members are too afraid of what could happen to their church if the dream materialized, so they seek every way to burst the dream bubble to avoid change.

While there are many dream busters, there are also dreams that lead to success which encourages the church and the leadership to pursue God’s plan. Let’s take a look at some of those components.

  1. Take time to dream – It seems so simple, but any good leader must schedule time to dream. When one is consumed by the urgent, he fails to dream.
  2. Seek God’s dream – As time is taken to dream, the dreamer must focus on God. This requires a focus on prayer and God’s Word. Through this process goals and ideas will grow so that they become God-sized dreams.
  3. Group the dreams – According to scripture, there are at least two kinds of dreams – short term and long term dreams. Sometimes dreamers put more pressure on themselves than they should believing they must have a dream that encompasses the rest of their lives or the life of the church. Short term dreams give direction for today, tomorrow or next week where long term dreams focus on months and years down the road. The truth is no church will survive unless both kinds of dreams are recognized and pursued.
  4. Verbalize the dream – As the dream evolves, the dreamer must be able to verbally communicate the dream to the rest of the church. This will require sharpening the dream and clearly presenting it to the congregation.
  5. Let others dream with you – Share your dream with others who can help to refine the dream and the process. Fellow dreamers come alongside and help bring life to the God-given dream.

It is time for leaders to begin dreaming. It is time to help the dream busters to become dream supporters. When these two things happen, the local church will move out of a plateaued state.

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