In yesterday's blog I posted several quotes from leadership guru John Maxwell that have greatly impacted my life and ministry. One of those quotes was "You cannot win if you do not begin! The people who get ahead in the world are the ones who look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, they make them."
From time to time I receive phone calls or emails from people frustrated that they cannot find a church to serve or who have hit some roadblock in their lives. Sometimes they get upset with me because I can't wave a magic wand and solve their problems. I understand their frustration because I've felt that in my own life. I have felt led to do something but it seemed that the circumstances just didn't work out to make it happen. I have learned that Maxwell is right. Sometimes we just have to take the initiative and begin.
I was licensed to the ministry by my church in 1979. I contacted our judicatory leader and offered to do supply preaching or lead revivals. His response was that when I had my MDiv he would be glad to give my name out to churches. Not much help there since I had not even attended college.
For nearly 18 months I went without preaching anywhere until I was finally asked to preach a mid-week service in a church of another denomination. By then, I was really beginning to doubt my call. However, once I preached in that church, other opportunities begin to come from non-denominational churches. One Sunday I was asked to be the interim pastor in a church I had attended as a teenager.
When that church called a pastor it seemed that everything dried up again. I went for months without being asked to preach anywhere. I finally got so frustrated that a friend of mine and I rented a building on the 4-H fairgrounds and scheduled a revival. He preached three nights, and I preached three nights. We didn't have big crowds, but a couple of weeks later I was called to serve the church where I spent the next 20 years as pastor.
If God had called me to preach, I was going to preach if I had to rent my own building. I wasn't going to sit by the phone and wait any longer.
Three years ago I got my auctioneer's license. I helped a few local auctioneers, but during that first year I never received one phone call from anyone wanting me to do an auction for them. I decided I had waited long enough. I rented a building and scheduled an auction. I had a building and a date, now I just needed something to sell. I began to call some pickers I knew and asked if they would consign some items to my auction. Within a month I had plenty to sell at auction and a month later had my first auction.
If you are going to win at anything, you have to begin. It would have been nice if the judicatory leader had been more helpful and opened some doors for me, but I decided I couldn't wait any longer for someone else to make it possible for me to preach. It would have been nice if people had called wanting me to sell estates for them at auction, but I couldn't wait for that either. I had to take the initiative to make things happen, and that is true for anyone who wants to make a difference in his or her life.