This past weekend, thousands of youth ministers participated in the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. As a participant in the past few, I know that feelings of empowerment and encouragement are flowing through this year's attendees' minds and souls.
The reason these conferences can be such a powerful experience is because of the camaraderie and the opportunity to take a youth ministry “time out”.
The problem with a conference like Simply Youth Ministry is that it’s only a weekend. After a weekend of euphoria you are forced to go home and face:
The supernatural story of how The Harbinger found its way to the nation
Based on your reading this magazine, I assume you’re the type of leader who wants your life—and ministry—to make a difference. Yet if you’re like me, you know that something serious is happening in America today. Rabbi, pastor and best-selling author Jonathan Cahn understands both of these dynamics, which is why I asked him to serve as guest editor of this issue of Ministry Today on ministering in the last days. Rabbi Cahn’s best-selling book, The Harbinger, has served as a national wake-up call. Through its narrative, he connected the dots for us to see that God is warning America in the same ways He warned Israel in Isaiah’s day through prophecies and harbingers of things to come!
I had the privilege to publish The Harbinger. Though having a best-seller like this has been a blessing to my company, I appreciate The Harbinger even more because I believe it’s the game-changer book I had asked God for and believed He would let me publish. The Harbinger came to me as a result of prophecy not once, but twice.
Here’s what happened. In late 2010, I was seeking God for a book to put into perspective what was happening in the world, how God viewed these changes and what Christians should do. I knew a man who had what I thought was this message, and I recruited him to write a book like this. Looking back, my journal during that time is full of references to this book and my wondering if it would impact a nation. Sadly, for a variety of reasons, the book was never written.
God had a better idea.
On my recent trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, over dinner we were blessed to have a friendly waiter named Everest. It’s not very often that you meet a man named Everest; he is actually my first.
With a name like Everest, I was reminded of another man I met at the wedding I attended recently—his name is Gideon Lasco, a 26-year-old mountaineer who climbed Mt. Apo (highest peak in the Philippines) when he was 19.
It was obvious from his name that he had a Christian background. As it turns out, he is a pastor’s son. Gideon is also a prolific blogger in his highly visited site pinoymountaineer.com. My brief conversation with this young man was pretty insightful.
You and I were made for a great adventure—it’s why we like movies. Movies have a story to them, an adventure to follow through. It’s also why we like shows like “Star Trek.” We want to “boldly go where no man has gone before."
That’s no accident. God made us to long for adventure—his adventure. God calls all believers to join him in a rescue mission, “to seek and save the lost” (see Luke 19:10) and complete the Great Commission.
Not only has God created us for this mission; he also wants us to go on the adventure together. God’s agent for completing his mission is the church. Churches start churches. The Bible says, “[God’s] intent was that through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known …” (Eph. 3:10). God has chosen the church—not governments or businesses—to be his agent to complete the mission.
I’ve experienced failures. I’ve watched others fail. I’m guessing you’ve seen plenty as well. This morning I tried to think through some common reasons why failure happens. I’m looking forward to some healthy conversation on this one.
1. It’s not your passion. If it doesn’t make your heart beat fast or cause your mind to race when you’re trying to sleep, you’re probably doing the wrong thing.
2. You don’t have a plan. You need a vision, and you need to identify specific steps to make that vision become reality. That includes a financial plan. (I happen to believe you need direction from God on this.)