There is an old saying that goes "Strike while the iron is hot." Well, I will tell you, from a preaching point of view, when you are "hot." It is when you are young. Let me explain…
Name any famous preacher, past or present. Possibly without exception, that preacher became known not when he was in his 50s or 60s (or even later), but back when he was in his 20s or 30s. We all herald Charles Spurgeon, the legendary "Prince of Preachers." But did you know that Spurgeon was preaching while still in his teens? By the time he was in his early 20s he was a phenomenon. It's like those who become big names in music. Quite consistently, they became big names while in their teens or early 20s. Are there exceptions? Sure. But the exceptions are few and far between. And the same goes with preachers.
Now your goal is not to make a name for yourself. In Kingdom work our goal is to DIE to ourselves, not make a name for ourselves. So don't get me wrong.
But if your hope is to have a significant impact upon the Kingdom of God here in Lancaster County, the time to really press towards that hope is right out the gate – right when you start, in January of 2023 when you are 34 years of age. By age 33 Christ had already died for the sins of the world and Alexander the Great had conquered all the known kingdoms of the world, so the case could be made that you are already late (!!!) But don't let that bother you.
Here then is what I suggest…
1. In every way that you can, use 2022 as a year to win the hearts and trust of the people of Burning Hearts. This is so you are not coming into 2023 as an unknown or suspect person.
2. Come into 2023 with a plan….a plan that the elders are aware of and which they support. Don't be concerned that you may be changing things. It is not expected that you will be me. Indeed, don't try and be me. Be your own man, a man of God's choosing.
3. Be clear and be bold. In my mind, you have about 10 years within which to become a recognized spiritual leader in this county…maybe 15 years. By age 50, you may have the respect of many, but you will be an unknown entity if you do not take advantage of these early years.
4. Trust God to lead you. Seek the input of others. That doesn't mean you will necessarily do what they think you should do. In fact, I would say that more than others you should trust what you believe God is showing you.
5. Avoid the micro-managers. They will stifle you and, if possible, hold you under their thumb. They are killers. Don't listen to them and avoid them at all cost.
6. Lastly, somehow, through it all, have fun. I once heard a speaker give a great talk on "Humor and God." The gist of the talk was that God has granted us humor to remind us that we are not divine. Humor keeps us on an earthly plane, where we should be. I put fun and humor together. So don't get to the point of ever taking yourself or what you are doing SO SERIOUSLY that you miss out on the joy of just being human. People, like flies, are drawn to honey, not vinegar. Be sweet, be attractive. Have a smile on your face, even as you take us deeper, deeper and deeper into the mind and ways of God. Are you excited over what God has in store for you? I sure am. I really am.
By His Grace,