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Advancing the Dream…4 Things to Remember

Dreaming new dreams in the ministry of a congregation is the first thing to disappear when a congregation starts to decline and the first thing to reappear when it leans toward a new future or a new season. (Lots of churches trying to “survive” would benefit greatly if they simply started to dream again!)

Dreaming is a big thing!

Our previous post “9 Things You Should Know” could easily have been complemented with the “79 Reasons Why It Won’t Work Here for Me.”

…I’ll  simply stick with the “9”!

My feet are firmly planted in the soil that God still can do more than we can ask or imagine.

So, today, assuming you actually have a dream–a good dream, flawed dream, any kind of dream–here are 3 things you should know about me and 4 thoughts on what to do with the dream.

3 things you should know first:

  1. always feel like my dreams are as fragile as glass at first and anyone could easily break my dreams…plus I don’t know if those dreams are inspired by God or simply bad ideas!
  2. Most of my dreams, our dreams–for Gail and me–were birthed in the “could anything good come out of Nazareth” territory. People would say wrong place, wrong time, wrong (not enough) resources, to legitimize that dreams might happen some place–just not here…just not now.
  3. So, for most of the 80%ers and some of the 20%ers (see 9 Things You Should Know)…I know. I get it…why you likely believe dreaming new dreams is for someone else…somewhere else.

So… 4 thoughts on what to do with your dream:

    Think of your dream like that fragile piece of glass. Who you tell first can polish it, break it, or carelessly discard it. (Think new idea if dream seems too lofty for you!) You want someone who can think with you, clarify, sharpen, pray, caution, tell you it really could be a winner or it’s just a bad idea. But, you want someone that will honor IT and listen to YOU.
    Give them just a little sense of the vision behind the dream. Don’t assume people will understand the “why it’s worth it” without telling them. Most of us share “nuts and bolts” and never share the vision of “why.”
  3. STEP 1… STEP 2… STEP 3…
    Be prepared to give the simple early steps of implementation so people can grasp how to get started…if we were going to get started. Uncertainty paralyzes.
    I’ve always had folks sitting in the bleachers waiting for the dream to fail! They can’t wait to celebrate!

Don’t be afraid. Just guard your heart. Churches would be wise to create soft landings for failed attempts. Reality is that most churches would be better off to try and fail than to live in the shadows of trying nothing!


All of this may seem rather pragmatic, and I suppose it is. Let me simply say this: For me, at least, the capacity to dream and to press forward happens in community and it happens when I’m mindful that God is still leading and I can trust Him.

Earlier this morning when I prayed I caught myself having hurried past a piece of very good PLI news that arrived yesterday. Crazy…hurried past it! This morning I circled back with prayers of thanksgiving and the simple echo deep in my being that I can still trust God in this uncertain world.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Dr. Jock Ficken
Rev. Dr. Jock Ficken

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