Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Fine Line

I am discovering that there is a fine line between being "a prophet" and self-appointed, useless living pseudo-martyr. I believe that being prophetic is a calling from God. I also believe that it is easy to lose your vision when circumstances aren't exactly what you think they should be. When that happens, you can become consumed with frustration and self-pity. In this condition, and in the absence of vision, you lose the ability to influence. The tricky part is that a realization that "things aren't as they should be" is necessary for one to be prophetic. Another component is an actual vision of how it could it should be. However, these two things are simply not enough. As Andy Stanley points out, this simply makes you a dreamer, and dreamers can become increasingly despondent as they recognize the disparity between the "real world" and their dream. The prophets...the visionary leaders are the ones who are willing to pour their lives and resources into partnering with God into making that dream a reality. Without that momentum and focus, you become a despondent dreamer. Prophetic, Visionary leaders believe in the dream enough to put their lives behind it. People follow passion, not hopeless complaining. Lately I've caught myself trying to slip into the martyr role. God has used many people (especially my wife, Dana), and Andy Stanley's leadership books (I continue to be astounded at the wisdom in Stanley's stuff. I know I may lose emergent cool points over that, but it remains true.), to show tell me that I was headed down that path and point me back to the path I need to be walking. Join the revolution. We're changing the world.


JDL said...

Forget Emergent "cool" points.
Stanley is a God follower and if his writing speaks to you - go for it.

It sounds like a little bit of an elijah complex ;-) "God, I'm the only one..." God said "nope.. I've got 7000..." Stick with the vision God has given you.

Michele said...


Follow God's lead no matter however it may appear around you. At times it may feel like dreaming only, but keeping focused on the vision and greater plan is part of what prophets of old did for God's people. We are capable today! Even if we lose sight, God can pull any dreamer, any pseudo-martyr out of the depths for His own purposes!! I should know, been there myself.

Good post and BTW, Andy Stanley's stuff is great. Not matter the label of emergent or not, it's whether it's godly that matters the most!


Gilbert said...

Hey bro,

Another great book by Stanley is called 7 Practices of Effective Ministry. His stuff just makes so much sense.

Kenny Payne said...

Try reading from Brueggemann's "The Prophetic Imagination" and he will cure you from any abandonment to or desire for pity parties. Prophets light a fire only because they have felt the flame that is our consuming God.

Jovan said...

Just finished 7 Practices of Effective Ministry yesterday. Quality stuff. I can't wait to share these principles with our staff.

Grace and Peace!

Kyle said...

Visioneering is a great book and both encouraging and challenging.

I struggle with sometimes having or feeling like I ought to have that 'prophet complex' if I'm going to be a success in ministry. Big struggle. Part of what helped me most in Stanley's book was the reminder that sometimes the greatest challenge God puts before me is not some gigantic vision or impossible dream - but a call to be faithful, right now. What does it mean to be faithful - to God in this moment... to my wife... to my sense of calling... to my partners in ministry.