Next steps: how to choose?

I’m thinking about my future these days.

Usually, when I start thinking about this, I’m asking about my next steps. Ok, let me be honest: it’s about my immediate next steps …

Every. Single. Time.

So I start thinking about the possibilities. What is God calling me to do? Should I stay where I am? Should I go somewhere else? If I go, what would I do? (For those of you who work with me: don’t worry. I’m not making any immediate decisions, that’s for sure.)

But while I was praying tonight, I was struck by a thought: what if that’s short-sighted? It’s like I’m looking at my feet, and saying, “Okay, right foot. Over there?” when instead I could lift my eyes toward the hills.

It reminds me of a time I was at steakhouse with my friend’s father, who I now affectionately call “Papa.” He’s a Christian leader with a world-class resume. And as he was chewing on an Outback Special, he started to talk about Wayne Gretsky. He said that though he’s one of the best to every play the game, he wasn’t the fastest, nor the biggest, nor the hardest hitting. So what made him so good? He gives the answer by quoting Gretsky: “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

What if I asked instead: what will God be doing in 15-20 years? How can I make sure I’m in line with what’s He’s doing? What if we looked at current trends in culture, business, technology, and theology and took a stab at what the most pressing needs of the Church and the world would be in 15-20 years? What will be the most effective and strategic way to introduce people to Jesus, and help them become healing and reconciling agents to the world in his name? What is the most fruitful way to seek lasting, social change for the better? What is the most strategic area to invest in now, so that it will bear fruit 15-20 years down the line?

Where’s the puck going to be?

Then, what if I worked backward from there and asked, “Okay, God. What’s my part?”

It might make my current options obsolete.

Sure, there’s a danger: we could be dead wrong about the future. Smarter people than us have blown it. And there’s a greater danger: we might not like God’s answer.

But still, it makes the question of next steps a bit more interesting, no?

How do you think ministry will look 15-20 years from now to meet the needs of the Church and the world?

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  1. always interesting. I have found it harder to think forward with the joys and challenges of family life today. perhaps even more reason to think forward.


  2. New blog post: Next steps: how to choose?


  3. Good blog abt next steps in ministry! RT @jameschoung: New blog post: Next steps: how to choose? #fb


  4. I was thinking about the need for more research and thought into the theology of fundraising / missionary support / donor support in light of American culture.


  5. @collin. so true. i’m just starting to get the dazed look out of my eyes, and have started to create — to exercise creativity — again.

    @daniel spoken like a true partner in the ministry!


  6. It’s Gretzky!

    I’d actually offer a corollary – that good players can guess where the puck will be, but great players just know…


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