When a Dream Dies

A few years ago I was reading a book called Sicky Church by Larry Osborne. At one point, he recounts a low point in his ministry. It was a time when things were not going as he had hoped. He wanted to see his church grow exponentially, a dream he had had for a long time. He was so determined to see this happen, he recorded it in his special notebook with the rest of his life’s goals. But when things failed to progress as he planned, he did something radical. Osborne writes, “I opened my notebook, took out the ‘pastor a big church’ page, and threw it away (Sticky Church, 25).” Later he calls it a time when he buried his dream.

All of us know how he felt. All of us have experienced, in one form or another, the death of a dream. Recently, I did. For most of my adult life, I have been a pastor. For almost 15 years I dreamed of leading a church where lives were changed and people matured in Christ.

A couple of years ago, I accepted a new ministry assignment. I came to serve on the leadership team at Christ’s Legacy Academy, and the longer I have served on this team, the greater love I have for this ministry and the deeper the sense of calling to it. Nevertheless, I continued to serve as a “bi-vocational” pastor to a group of wonderful people at Riceville First Baptist Church. I admit it was hard to do both, but I had a dream, and I was not ready to let the dream die. Yet, as time moved one, the pressure of leading both ministries began to become overwhelming. Something had to give.

Then on Sunday May 1, 2016, I did something radical. I buried the dream and resigned from my position as a pastor so that I can devote more time to my family and the work of this school. I confess that the death of a dream comes with a sense of loss. After all, serving as a pastor is all that I had done. But there is something strange that happens when God leads you to bury a dream. He does not leave you there to mourn the loss. Instead he resurrects a new dream, gives you new energy, and supplies new vision. Now I am as excited about ministry as ever before, but it took the death of one dream to see the birth of a new one.

I am not sure where you are or what you are going through. There is, however, one thing I do know. If God leads you to change directions, he will lead you in the right direction. It may be hard, but you will never regret it. In Christ, when one dream dies, a new one will rise, and you will be better for it.