We have all heard the phrase, “They can’t see the forest for the trees.” This usually refers to someone who is so totally focused on the individual problems, issues, or difficulties of life that they fail to see the BIG picture. While this can often happen in the life of a Kidmin Pastor/Leader, I believe there is a VISION failure that can be even more devastating.
Sometimes, as leaders, we are missing the TREES for the forest. We become focused on the BIG picture (the forest) and we lose sight of the trees (individuals). Ministry is not ONLY about the BIG picture, it is also – and most specifically – about the individual.
When Jesus gave the GREAT COMMISSION to His followers just before He ascended to Heaven, He said, “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19,20)
Often, we focus a lot on the global aspect of the GREAT COMMISSION: “all the nations.” We like to think of big groups, large crowds, huge attendance. We are trained that way – especially in the American mindset. Everything becomes about the group, rather than the individual. The larger our ministry group gets, the easier it is to start looking at it as a forest, rather than a group of individual trees.
We must never forget the individual aspect of the GREAT COMMISSION: “disciples.” Disciples are not created in herds. Disciples are created as individuals. Jesus said, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Baptism is a personal and individual experience. Oh, sure, you might put a lot of people under at once, but the experience is one of individual outward display of inward change. “Teaching them to obey all the commands I have given you.” Oh sure, you might be able to teach a lesson to a large group, but the only way you will know if they are “obeying” is by knowing each of them individually, personally, deeply.
I had a God-moment this morning while praying and studying. The Lord challenged me to take a step further into knowing each of the children in my ministry deeply. He challenged me to stop looking at them as a herd, but to see them as individual sheep. I committed to do just that.
How about you? Are you seeing ministry as a “group exercise” or “individual life change?” Share your thoughts in the comments section.