Great renewal leaders consistently land on their feet following a setback. Setbacks may include having important projects rejected by the community, having grand visions met with a yawn, having people entrusted with important tasks underperform, having finances fall short of a goal or having key staff members leave as an important ministry is about to launch. The list of possible setbacks is endless. Long-haul renewal leaders refuse to let setbacks set them back from their calling to lead Christ’s people towards a God-preferred future. To do this, renewal leaders must always look for the redemptive possibilities in every setback.
Here are several redemptive possibilities that accompany setbacks:
Redemptive Possibility 1: Is This An Opportunity To Exercise The Muscle Of Hope?
Renewal depends on sustaining hope despite circumstances on the ground. Setbacks provide renewal leaders with an opportunity to exercise their hope muscle by continuing to believe “the best is still before us.” They embrace the words of Philippians 1:6, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.”
Redemptive Possibility 2: Is This An Opportunity To Increase Listening To The Holy Spirit?
When things go south a mature renewal leader returns to the activity of listening prayer asking the Spirit for the best next steps in the renewal journey. While listening they may hear encouragements such as: be patient, take time to be refreshed, reevaluate, recast the vision, restructure, or reconsider your priorities.
Redemptive Possibility 3: Is This An Opportunity To Rediscover The Heart Of God’s People?
Renewal leaders can sometimes be passionate about a project, a cause or a ministry direction that does not fit the DNA of the community. A setback can help a leader revisit what it could look like for this particular people to become fully alive given who Christ made them to be.
Redemptive Possibility 4: Is This An Opportunity to Prioritize On Relationships?
Renewal leaders must do four things well: 1) they must stay calm, 2) they must stay clear, 3) they must stay connected and 4) they must stay the course. Setbacks provide an opportunity for leaders to work on all four, and especially “staying connected”, by reaching out to those who have created the ministry challenge. Prioritize relationships over agendas.
Redemptive Possibility 5: Is This An Opportunity to Return To An Abundant Life In Christ?
As renewal leaders make large investments in important goals, they run the risk of becoming so busy doing the work of the Lord that they forget the Lord of the work. Setbacks provide an opportunity to put aside the doing for a season to find time to just be in the company of Jesus.
Redemptive Possibility 6: Is This An Opportunity To Perfect A Project/Process/Plan?
Setbacks force renewal leaders to examine the flaws in a current plan. Maybe there is a way to do this with fewer resources or maybe this provides an opportunity to restructure staff or maybe this could lead to increased ownership through better vision casting. Setbacks are often the beginning of a better ending.
Redemptive Possibility 7: Is This An Opportunity To Live By Faith?
Renewal leaders often locate their faith for the future in a particular staff member or a particular donor or a particular vision or a particular plan. When one of those is removed, angst often sets in. In that moment, renewal leaders have the opportunity to again live by faith, trusting that God will meet their every need.