I know what you’re thinking, and no, I haven’t grown nostalgic over Kevin Costner movies, nor have I gone back and watched Field of Dreams. I wasn’t about to say that if you build it, they will come, but what I am going to say, what this entire essay is about, is the truer adage, that if you build it, you must feed it.
Sometimes you can build something, and they will not come. Empty business, restaurants, music halls, and countless other things prove the veracity of this. If all it took were building it, then Pan Am airlines would still be in business, and Howard Johnson’s would still be the premier hotel chain in the nation.
A more apt truism than if you build it, they will come, at least in my estimation, is if you build it, you must feed it. Whatever it is that you are trying to build, if it isn’t constantly fed, it will either contract, grow sickly, and die or begin to eat itself.
If someone starts a business, I take no issue with them trying to build it as big as they could. I have no quarrel with big dreamers, because when a big dreamer puts in the effort and achieves what they dreamt of achieving, more often than not it is impressive, and comes close to defying logic. The world needs big dreamers because, without big dreamers, we wouldn’t have skyscrapers, transatlantic flight, the internet, or dare I say, even flushable toilets.
What I take umbrage with, however, is applying the dream big business model to ministry. I’m sorry, but ministry and business are not interchangeable. Yes, you might run the finances of a ministry like you would a business, being accountable, keeping records, and being above board, but when you start to plan the growth of a ministry out and implement worldly schemes in order to achieve this result, it becomes something other than what it was intended.
I have known quite a few ministries in my life that blew up only to flame out because the growth was inorganic. Once they got big, they had to continue feeding the machine in order to stay that way, and what they began feeding it became less and less spiritually nutritive. The pressure was on to continue providing content, and if God was silent for a stretch, well, they still had to throw something up; otherwise, the natives might get restless. It became a vicious cycle that always ended in the same manner, because whenever something is of human origin rather than divine origin, it rings hollow, no matter how much you try to spiritualize it or deliver it in King James English.
Ministry is a calling; it is not a business. If God calls you into ministry, then God will be faithful in providing all that you need in order for your ministry to function at the level He intended, and be as big or as small as He intends it to be. It’s not up to you to manufacture growth. Your only duty is to be faithful to the calling to which you have been called. The rest rests on God’s capable shoulders.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.