Three years ago in Champaign Illinois while attending a new start, starting new churches conference. Dr. Jim Kraemer taught the sessions that I attended. As he dismissed us with the assignment of presenting our plans to start a new church, he made an interesting statement: if you go back to your room and spend time with the Lord, he will talk to you. I was just a few days from my district assembly. I prayed and reflected on starting new churches to reach this generation for Christ, the number that kept coming to me was 70. Lord, you want us to start 70 new churches? We do not presently have 70 churches on our district. How can we start 70 more? When the Lord speaks you have one of two choices, obey or disobey. I came home and rearranged my report for the district assembly. I announced that we were going to plant 70 churches in the next five years. People started saying how this was the silliest thing they had ever heard. Where will you find 70 leaders? How will you train them? What 70 communities or neighborhoods are you going to identify? How do you think you’re going to do this? I did have some who were excited by the dream. We began planting churches. Then things began to unravel. The person helping to lead the charge was gone seemingly within an instant. A few other things went south as well regarding new starts, and my heart was broken. Not only was my heart broken, but my spirit was also broken as well. With the busyness of what my assignment entails from being the dream that God had given me, it became a back burner issue.
Fast-forward to this last Monday evening. One of our local churches in Indianapolis was hosting a conference. I was not able to get into the conference until the Monday night session. The speaker was Dan Bohi. He preached on believing and faith. One statement he made: believe, to which I said out loud “Amen.” Instantly I felt checked by the Holy Spirit “do you believe?” While Dan is speaking, the Holy Spirit and I are having a conversation. “Of course I believe, to which the Lord replied to me” then “why are you giving up on the dream I gave you three years ago to start 70 new churches? Over the next 40 minutes, God is speaking to me in convicting power. I recommitted to His dream while seated, that I would indeed believe the vision and make a priority of reaching new people by beginning 70 new starts. The Lord told me I did not have to find the 70 pastors He would find them! I did not have to raise the money; He would raise it, and sitting in the pew, the Lord renewed my faith.
After the service as I was greeting people, Dan approached me, I have known Dan personally since the year 2000. The first words out of his mouth were, “Hey Ron are you wanting to start new churches?” I could not believe my ears! Though nothing was said in the service regarding new starts, this was what the Lord was dealing with me about during the message, and now Dan asks the same question.
I have had two conversations since Monday night with people in which I have asked is God calling you to plant a church? Why don’t you pray about it and see what the Lord says and I will pray as well. God has renewed and restored the dream. I am not going to listen to the chirping in my ears, or the thought what if this fails? I am going to be obedient and trust God. It is not, in fact, my dream; I believe it is God’s desire for the Indianapolis District. If it does not work it does not matter to me I am only required to be obedient and diligent.
The most famous speech of the 20th is the one made by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a dream.” Notice that Dr. King did not entitle his speech I have a plan. Everyone has a plan; not everyone has a dream. Our plans should come out of our dreams. If plans were going to change the world, it would have happened a long time ago. Our issue today is not a lack of ideas and plans; our problem is we have stopped dreaming!
With God’s help, I want to dream big dreams and see our God do things that are incredible. He is able. I am glad He has renewed The dream.