No Silver Bullets by Daniel Im is one of the finest books on intentional discipleship I have read. It is a privilege to feature this excerpt from Daniel’s book where he challenges Christian leaders to shift to a kingdom perspective, dream, and strategize ways to encourage followers of Jesus to greater Christ-likeness. Read my review of No Silver Bullets here.
– Darryl Eyb
From Mourning to Intentional Celebration
When I pastored in Korea, I named our ministry Nine37 after Matthew 9:37: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.” The leadership team and I did this because we knew that we would only have our church members for a few years before they would leave us. After all, as globe-trotting expats, they were only ever going to be with us temporarily before moving onto their next big thing. So we would regularly give them a guilt trip and tell them that they had to stay with us, because the harvest was abundant in Korea and the workers were few.
Okay, not really. But we did have to intentionally shift our perspective in order to deal with this reality. So instead of trying to keep them from leaving, we decided to send them out instead. Instead of mourning, we decided to rejoice and celebrate.
As a result, every week during our pre-service Sunday morning prayer time, we would literally pray Matthew 9:35–38 over our church. Our leadership team would intentionally ask God to transform our church members into Kingdom-focused harvest workers. We prayed that wherever they went, they would be a greater blessing there as a result of their time in our ministry here. So when the time came for people to leave, instead of giving them the cold shoulder, we commissioned them. This could not have happened without shifting our perspective.
The Same Is True for Your Church
Think about your church. What do you long to see for them? What do you regularly pray over them? If God were to answer your deepest prayers for your church, what would happen? What would change?
Would your church be filled with a movement of disciple-making disciples that infiltrated all areas of your region (Matt. 28:18–20)?
Or maybe your worship service would be filled with “a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language” worshipping beside one another (Rev. 7:9)?
Perhaps your church would be meeting daily, living life together, meeting one another’s needs, praising God, receiving favor from all people, and being used by God to save people on a daily basis (Acts 2:42–47)?
Whatever dream God has given you for your church, I want to be the first one to tell you that it’s possible. After all, the fact that you’re even reading this book and praying for your church means that you’re on the right track.
But I also want to be the first one to tell you that achieving those dreams does not require a radical change; you don’t have to blow everything up and start over. All it requires is a series of micro-shifts, taken one step a time. After all, let’s be honest with ourselves—there’s no silver bullet in life, so why would we assume that there’s one in ministry?
I love the following quote—often attributed to Harriet Tubman—about dreams: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” And this one by Walt Disney: “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
The problem though, is that a dream is precisely that—a dream. Dreams are not reality. They are the hidden potential for the future that lies dormant within each and every one of us. Dreams are like the statue that’s imprisoned in the walls of marble, awaiting the sculptor to set it free—as the iconic Italian artist Michelangelo once said. So while I like inspirational quotes as much as the next person, inspiration can only get us so far.
Dreams require courage and strength. They cannot be achieved on a whim, since they require a strategy and a plan. I mean, do you really think the Underground Railroad was built without a strategy or a plan? And what about the Disney Empire?
Excerpted with permission from No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry by Daniel Im. Copyright 2017, B&H Publishing Group.
Read the review of No Silver Bullets.
Daniel Im blogs at danielim.com.