27 Jun Pivot, Pull Back Or Start Over?
“Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. 8 So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” Acts 16:6-10.
Discerning God’s will can be confusing at times. We map out our strategic plans, but sometimes things don’t progress as we hope. Paul’s experience at Troas is a perfect example of handling uncertainty in ministry. He attempted to preach the gospel in Asia, but the Holy Spirit prevented him. So, he pivoted toward Bithynia, “but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” Can you imagine the conversations among his traveling companions? Perhaps they questioned God’s leading; perhaps they questioned Paul’s leadership. That evening the Holy Spirit gave Paul the vision of a man of Macedonia which brought clarity and encouraged them with God’s plan.
Pull back or start over?
A growing church hired an architect to design new facilities. The elders presented the plans to the congregation who generally gave positive feedback. As the conversation continued, some wondered if the plans for the sanctuary were too large for the number of available parking spaces. To discern the Lord’s will, the elders proposed two solutions: 1) conduct a traffic study, and 2) move forward the plans only if the elders had complete unity. God answered their prayers, but not like they thought. The study revealed that the site did not have adequate space for parking, and the elders voted unanimously to ask the architect to significantly revise the plans. God brought clarity. Yet, it took courageous leadership to pull back and start over.
Listen and walk in it.
How will you know what path to take? “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21).
Friends, have a Spirit-led fundraising week!
Ron Haas, Vice President of The Timothy Group, has also served the Lord as a pastor, the vice president of advancement of a Bible college, a Christian foundation director, a board member and a fundraising consultant. He’s authored two books: Ask for a Fish – Bold Faith-Based Fundraising and Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at ministry conferences and has written fundraising articles for At the Center magazine and Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes magazine.