I’ve consulted with several churches over the years, and one thing I’ve often said to church leaders is this: What if all your dreams come true?
What if your marketing worked? What if everyone did invite someone? What if you arrived one Sunday and you had doubled in size? Could you handle it?”
I ask this because rapid growth can sometimes cripple organizations and businesses. If you don’t have a solid foundation and infrastructure in place, you could crash and burn.
I’m dealing with this currently at my church. We’ve tripled in size in less than two years.
I’m up late at night thinking about things like adding a third service and developing more leaders. I’m urging my staff to invest in leaders and build their teams. I’m praying through who I, as the Campus Pastor, can invest in and what areas in our overall church need my attention and focus. I’m thinking through systems and strategy and processes.
I was out for a run for the first time in months. A “runner’s injury" to my right foot has been slow in healing. It was great to be off the exercise bike and back outside!
While I was out, another runner passed by me in the other direction and greeted me with a cheery “Hey, keep going!” and a big smile. It was a lifting moment and brought a smile to my face. The next runner passed by within inches of me. I offered a cheerful “Hey!” and he never looked up. The difference was staggering.
That moment was a fresh reminder of how much I appreciate people with a positive and cheerful spirit. They bring life! Others steal life. Both options can take place in a moment.
In January 2012, Jonathan Cahn’s New York Times bestseller, The Harbinger, released to the public and quickly garnered widespread media attention and popular appeal. The book, a narrative revealing ancient mysteries 2,500 years old pointing to 21st century America’s future, sounded a wakeup call and promptly triggered a gamut of questions from readers who realized the spiritual significance of the story. Now, a year later Cahn is releasing The Harbinger Companion: With Study Guide. Filled with photos, drawings, photographs, charts and a section answering the most often asked questions surrounding The Harbinger, the book is non-fiction. Cahn explores each mystery he revealed in The Harbinger, piece by piece, with background information. The Companion also features a 13-week study guide that individuals, small groups and churches can use to go deeper into The Harbinger.
Here in this interview, Cahn talks the nation’s response to his 2012 book, this new work and why it’s vital that church leaders preach prophetically on the end times.
Jonathan, did the overwhelming response to The Harbinger surprise you at all? Why do you think it caused such a stir throughout the nation?
From the way The Harbinger came to me and the way it became a book, I had no doubt it was from the Lord. So I had an assurance that it would go forth to the nation. What surprised me was how fast it all happened. The week of its release, it became the No. 1 new book on Amazon and made The New York Times best-sellers list. That definitely surprised me. I still don’t understand the dynamics of how it happened.
I spent three days recently at a cabin with five other pastors, holding what we call a roundtable.
I’m from California. We met in Illinois, where there was a blizzard one day and the temperature hit minus 7 degrees one night. I didn’t care. What we were doing was so important, we didn’t need to go outside. We do this every year. We plan to continue doing it until our last days of ministry.
Here’s why I’m involved in a roundtable:
1. These guys inspire me. They’re my friends, all are pastors, and seeing how they live out their commitment to God inspires me. There aren’t too many people who do what we do. One of the guys lost his wife and best friend to cancer in the same year. Another adopted and is raising four high-risk children. A third runs triathlons. All of them are devoted to their wives and to walking in close quarters with Christ. During dark seasons in my ministry, I think of them and it boosts my determination to keep going.
In marriage counseling, it’s common to find spouses playing the part of attorneys—stating their case why the other spouse is to blame for the problems at hand.
A husband blames his wife for his neglect because she’s not physically affectionate enough. A wife blames her husband for her critical nature because he’s not emotionally intimate enough. As a counselor, it’s easy to slip into the role of a judge trying to decide who “wins.”
The wiser approach is to hold spouses responsible for their own actions and words. The apostle Paul clearly describes this principle of personal responsibility in Galatians 6:7-8, saying that a man (or woman) “reaps what he sows.” Consider the following steps to counseling couples away from the name-and-blame game and toward a “harvest” of a better marriage.