One of the Biggest Mistakes I’ve Made In Leading Destino
It was a conversation that started like any other. Little did I know that by the end of it I would be making one of my biggest mistakes in ministry.
I had just finished my first year of leading a Destino movement. God had grown our little movement and we were seeing Him do big things on campus. He had brought a group of leaders together who maturing spiritually. Latino students were coming to faith left and right. It was a great time to be involved.
One day that spring one of the new believers came up to me to share an exciting idea he had about an outreach on campus. He had experienced a dream the night before where a large crowd was gathered in a field on campus. There was praise and worship going on up front. Thousands of students were in attendance. It was something God was going to use to bring the campus back to Him. God had sent this dream to the student so they would know how they were supposed to plan it and what it was supposed to look like. He had already started to research locations on campus, book a band, and develop a budget: $5,000.
The student leader was so excited as he shared the dream with me. I was skeptical. I had seen this type of event before. Get lots of Christians together and have a concert. Sing kumbaya and talk about getting serious for God and reaching the campus with the gospel. Then everyone goes home and lives their life the same as before. It just won’t work. Let’s not waste our time.
Besides, who plans a major ministry outreach based on a dream? We have strategic plans for that. Step-by-step processes that are designed to help us arrive at what God logically wants us to do. God has given us a mind to use. He doesn’t tell people what do to in dreams, haven’t you read your Bible?
Standing there I had two choices: I could help him follow what he felt like God was telling him to do. Or I could tell him, according to my infinite wisdom, how God really leads people. To my shame (and against the advice of my wife) I chose the latter.
In doing so I missed a major opportunity to empower a new believer. Instead of helping him learn to discern God’s leading (whether by the Holy Spirit, a dream, or strategic plan) I communicated that I, as the leader, had all the answers. No need to listen to God, just listen to me.
I also communicated that I didn’t believe in him. I didn’t trust his walk with the Lord. I didn’t have his back when it really mattered. I lost his trust and became one in another long list of people that didn’t believe in him.
The student went on to plan the event (without my help). He gathered a group of people to help plan it. He brought in a band from Colorado. He raised the $5,000 necessary to pull it all off. I was so proud of him.
I apologized to him for not being on his side, for not empowering him, for not believing in him. He forgave me and our relationship has since grown stronger and stronger. I’m so grateful for the way that he was gracious to me, to allow me to learn a valuable lesson.
It’s more valuable to communicate belief in your students than to be so sure of your own view of the world. Even when things are outside of your box (I grew up Southern Baptist, not Pentecostal) you have to have flexibility to see things differently. This story could have had a horrible ending. By God’s grace it didn’t.
May you learn to empower your students from my bad example and not from your own similar mistakes.
photo courtesy: Scott Web