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hope for churches in stress

New Ventures

A year or two into a new venture, outcomes can be disappointing.

At that point, it is good to review questions that shaped the venture: “What am I good at? What do I really want to do, and believe in doing? What am I willing to spend years on, if not the rest of my life?”

Or posed from a faith perspective: “How, with my existing abilities and opportunities, can I be of greatest service to other people, knowing what I do of God’s will and of human need?”

Probing deeply: “Am I using what God has given me for his purposes? Do I have a relationship with him so that I know he is leading me? Am I obeying him in all areas of my life—or trying to do so—so that I can know I am in a real relationship with him?”

To shape a new venture, we prayerfully answer such questions. Moving ahead, we have successes, encounter setbacks, and inevitably wonder whether we are making headway.

At that point, we must resist comparisons. Management sage Peter Drucker observed: “The new always looks so small, so puny, so unpromising next to the size and performance of maturity.”

A better reference point is the call of God. A new endeavor may seem unsuccessful, but having discerned clear direction, we can persist with patience and hope (Isa. 42:9; 43:18-19; Mk. 4:30-32).

An initial burst of enthusiasm may fade, but faith will carry us forward.

Quotes (in sequence) from Peter Drucker, The Essential Drucker (p. 156f.), Tim Keller, Every Good Endeavor (p. 67), Eric Metaxes in an essay about William Wilberforce in Seven Men, and The Essential Drucker (p. 137).

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