In my last Ministry Toolbox article, I shared some tips on how to chase big dreams. But as with any dream, you’ll often face obstacles—dream busters that will keep you from pursuing your dreams. If you know what they are in advance, you can be prepared to face them head-on. Even people with good intentions can be a detriment to what God wants to do through you and your ministry.
Here are some of the dream busters I’ve seen stand in the way of what God wants to do through leaders like you and me.
You see this in the story of Joseph in Genesis. Joseph was a big dreamer, but his dreams got him in trouble. He told his brothers that someday he’d be an influential leader and would save a nation. God gave him that dream and eventually made it come true.
But Joseph shared his dream with the wrong people and at the wrong time.
When God gives you a dream, you need to be careful who you share it with. You need to share with people who are part of the solution and can help you make the dream come true.
Sometimes your family won’t let you grow. Your parents see you as their child and will sometimes urge you not to rock the boat. Often the unbelief of a family member, even though they love you, can be a detriment to what God wants to do in your life.
Don’t hang around negative people. Psalm 1:1-3 explains how to not be drawn into people’s negativity: Don’t walk with the wicked, stand with sinners, or sit with the mockers. Notice the progression. First, you walk with them, then you stand around with them, and then you sit down with them.
We need sanctified, positive attitudes. We need to get close to go-getters and be go-getters for others. And we certainly don’t need friends who tell us it can’t be done.
Fatigue is a big dream buster. Your vision starts to shrink when you’re tired. When you burn out, you begin settling for second best. You become satisfied with the status quo of your ministry. I meet pastors all the time whose goal is not to hit a home run but just to finish the game.
You don’t need to drop your dream when you’re tired. You just need to get some rest.
We usually think of failure as a reason to not go after our dreams. But wise people know how to take advantage of failure. They learn from it. They use it as a lesson. One of the primary tools that God uses in your life to make you what he wants you to be is failure.
So, don’t be afraid of it! If you’ve had a ministry idea fail, don’t give up. Try a variation. We’ve failed a lot at Saddleback. When we were trying to find the right time for our membership class, we tried every day of the week—morning, evening, one hour, four hours, six weeks, and so on. We kept trying until we found a format that worked.
Fear kept the Israelites from getting into the Promised Land earlier, and it can keep you from achieving God’s dream too. Remember when God told Moses to send some spies into Canaan to explore the land in Numbers 13? They came back with a bad report about how big and scary the inhabitants were. Most of the spies returned saying, “We can’t attack the people because they are stronger than we are!” (Numbers 13:31 CSB).
Just like it did for the Israelites, fear will bust your dreams. The Israelites were excited about going into the Promised Land but spent too much time focusing on the problems. You’ll find problems with every dream you have. Your fatal mistake will come when you give into fear instead of trusting God’s plan and his timing.
Pastor, it doesn’t cost you anything to dream. Dream big dreams for your ministry, and don’t let dream busters get in your way.
Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash
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