I wanted to plant a church as soon as it entered my mind. Instead, I got Elevator Music. When it plays, you wait. It represents a time where you are moving but you are also stationary. You are making progress – going up or down – but you do not yet have freedom to go. I struggle with this concept. Once I know my destination, I am ready to go and go ‘without restriction’.
Jesus taught His followers about His Kingdom. Then He died (showing His love) and rose again (showing He is God). Before He ascended to Heaven, He addressed the group and told them to wait. So, they did:
(Acts 1:12-14 ESV) Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
These men and women had been given explanation to the mysteries of God’s Kingdom. They had seen the Savior defeat death. They had to be bubbling with enthusiasm to do something – anything!. Yet, Elevator Music. Jesus said to go and wait. The best church plants and the best ministry…it all must wait until God elevates us so we are doing His work in His power. We get a nudge from God to wait and we do not always want to do so. Rather than see the whole picture we may focus on the fact that we are ‘ready to go’. Indeed, we may be but just because we think we are ready does not mean everything else is…
I thought I was ready to plant a church for years. I nearly jumped in on a few occasions. With hindsight, I now see that would have been one of two things:
1. Jumping off the elevator in mid-flight. When God provides for the journey then we should ride all the way to our destination. Jumping off too soon due to impatience will not get you there quicker. It will take you on a detour or require you to take an alternative route. I have done this in life. I do not want to do it anymore.
2. Taking the stairs. Don’t get me wrong. There is discipline and purpose in going the long and hard way. I used to work on the 48th floor of a building in Tulsa. Once, I took the stairs instead of the elevator…just for kicks. That was quite an experience. I don’t recommend it. When God says to wait for His perfect timing and His perfect will then we should do so and when He provides an elevator then we ‘get on’. The ride won’t be nearly as long as it seems and the choice of music isn’t so bad. Deciding we are unwilling to ‘sit still’ and ‘wait on Him’ may result in a very long set of stairs.
Before I moved to Wyoming to plant a church I needed to get comfortable with seasons of waiting. I needed to be comfortable being confined to a place simply because God said so. These would be valuable tools that would equip me for the early stages of a new ministry. They can be valuable to you as well. When God says to wait He has purpose in doing so. Get on the elevator. Enjoy that jazzy beat. Wait until the door opens and you hear ‘the ding’. Then get to it!