The Language of Potential

Posted: February 5, 2010 in Church, Leadership, vision

Had the high honor of drinking coffee with a pastor friend earlier this week.  As we talked, I recounted some thoughts and emotions from years back.  As I did, we both laughed as we related to the sentiment.

Years ago I remember trying to encourage the church to “keep hope alive” by communicating my conviction that we “were on the verge” of God doing something great.  Did I believe it?  At times.  But more often than not, I was discouraged, depressed, and would get in the car to leave a Sunday morning and think, “What the crap am I doing?!”  But…I would keep speaking of just feeling like we “were on the verge” of something great.  It was the language of “potential.”  I hate the word “potential.”  You may try to use it positively, but what most hear is “you aren’t living up to your capability.

In the midst of continually claiming “we were on the verge” was an insecurity that at any moment someone could call me on it.  After all, how long can you keep saying you are “on the verge”?  It is a time-bound promise.  And eventually, people begin to ignore the “hang on…God is just about to…”

Looking back now…we really were on the verge.  And God really was just about to…  But it wasn’t in any manner that I had hoped for, expected, or communicated.  And it included a lot more suffering and sadness than I would have hoped.  In fact, he pretty much crushed my anticipation of what I thought we were “on the verge of” and had to start anew.

And now looking back…thank God!

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Comments
  1. Jim says:

    Hey, thanks for this. I’m in leadership at my church, and am trying to be positive as we have gone through times tough enough that we’ve had to sell our building. There are plenty of signs God isn’t done with us yet, and has a future in store for us, but that’s all I can really say. And of course bearing the burdens of all the details around the building sale and the pending move are draining and make it hard to be upbeat and positive with the congregation. But I try, anyway.

  2. Lori says:

    Thanks for the insight. Sometimes we need to let God lead us through the desert so that we can appreciate the promised land even more when we get there.

  3. scmiller says:

    Living Stones is a vibrant body and it’s impacting the community for Jesus Christ. It’s also a splendid example of what can happen when leadership leads instead of managing. I spent a lot of time practicing management when I thought I was leading. We made the painful choice to change churches and have a whole new perspective of mission and leading today. You made the even tougher call to lead a church through that process. So keep leading. Keep loving. You and your church do it very well.

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