Are You Missing The Trees?



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.

7 thoughts on “Are You Missing The Trees?

  1. Brian- What a powerful word! Thanks so much for sharing. I believe I will need to look at this from time to time in the future to keep me focused on what really counts. “The Shepherd will leave the flock to save the one”. Again- Thanks for sharing.

    • Just read your post. Looks like God was speaking the same thing to both of us. Praying we both (along with others) can stay focused on the individuals and avoid the herding! Thanks for sharing, my friend!

  2. Recently, I took 14 kids to camp by myself. Sounds crazy, but I did it last year without any problem. I really loved getting to know each one of the kids. This year however, it was much different. I treated them like a herd. Just trying to get them from one place to another on time and in tact. Thanks for the reminder to focus on each individual and to duplicate myself so I can focus on the one instead of the 99.

  3. Pingback: Are You Missing The Trees? | Worship Leaders

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