There is No Formula for a Successful Destino Movement
This blog post is born out of a really hard week in ministry, but I don’t want to move quickly past this place of struggle. Here are my thoughts:
In Destino, we often have people ask us for a step-by-step formula to see their movements grow. We even wrote a document a while back that we originally subtitled “how to grow your movement from 10 to 100″. (Subsequently changed as we learned the lessons we are now sharing). We are well-trained Cru staff. ”How to…” is our favorite phrase. But what we learned and realized is that, in reality, what happened on our campus had little to do with awesome strategy and everything to do with God deciding to show up and move. Everything was messy in the process and still is.
A lot of what gave us big numbers and wins in the beginning (like high evangelism stats) created a lot of other problems that we haven’t figured out how to make work. Like how do you genuinely reach lost people and within a year ( or 2 or 3 or 4) have them leading others when they are still trying to just stop getting drunk every weekend? There is no formula to this. There is no step-by-step process that is easy for everyone to follow.
There are definitely some thrilling moments of seeing genuine life transformation and students graduate still walking with the Lord. There are also other heartbreaking moments of seeing students totally fall away and make choices that have lasting consequences. I know this is common in ministry, but the latter is something we see in far greater number than we do the first. We honestly haven’t figured it out. We just know it’s hard. We are greater people of prayer now which is a good thing. We have been moved to dependence in ways that are probably always essential to ministry, but are easy to forget when things are all figured out for us.
So, if you are someone who is trying to reach Latinos or trying to launch a new Destino movement, I do have a couple of consejos for you.
- STOP LOOKING for the right method. There isn’t one. But O how we love formulas and processes and successful action steps! We love things that bring certainty and automatic wins in ministry. I’m sure it is probably deeply tied to human nature, as well as to a desire to see people reached with the gospel. We’re always a mixed bag of motives. Always. We are marred images of God. Ultimately, he will move and Latinos will be reached with the gospel. The method in which he will do that will look different in each context and through each person that is wholly devoted to him.
- PRAY. So easy right? It’s probably on everyone’s strategic plan. But this really is it. There isn’t anything else that will break through this difficult work of raising up a generation of Latino believers that will change the world. Sometimes when a ministry is as large as ours and we’ve seen as much success as we have, we can get comfortable in the process that we’ve used over and over. That process doesn’t work in Destino anyway, and in a lot of ways that is probably a good thing. We need to be pushed out of the comfortable in order to wake up to the fact that we were never in control when we saw any success in the first place. Let this struggle of trying to see a Destino movement launched lead us to depths of intimacy in prayer that we’ve not experienced before. We get there by being stripped of these “how to’s” that have worked in other majority culture ministry settings.
- BE A MYSTIC. God is mysterious and can’t be put in a box. Allow the diversity you’ll experience in the Latino community re-shape your view of God and force you to become a person that relies heavily on the Holy Spirit. Learn to hear from him and listen to his voice. At the end of the day, this endeavor of working to see a spiritual movement among the Latinos should translate into a deeper walk with God and broader view of who He is and what He does. If you labor at this for years and have little to show for it, but you are walking more closely with him and are more sensitive to his voice and Spirit’s stirring in you, you’ve succeeded. God will accomplish his purpose.
I’m well aware that there is nothing remarkable about this advice. But there is much meaning in the unremarkable sometimes. Join us in experiencing a lot of failure but a lot of meaning in this great and challenging work of seeing God reach the world through the Latino community. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
photo courtesty: themadLOLscientist