Nearly 17 years ago, God gave my wife and I a dream. It wasn't for wealth or wonder. We did not have a dream of success or significance. We had a dream to start a church. Yes, that's right. A church. I did not even know how to do that at the time. For the first 6 months we had thought we may have made the biggest mistake of our lives. We left the church we were working at and now we were in charge.
The first 3 years were a struggle. We found ourselves at $42,000 in the hole and our family exhausted our life savings. We did not say it, but we thought "it's been a good run, we gave it our best shot, but it's time." We were paying about $72,000 per year in rent for our church (which met at a movie theater) and our office space. Our income was not keeping up with the expenses. Then out of nowhere a pastor, Juan Martinez, calls and sees if we are interested in buying his church building. Long story short, we bought that building and our rent went from a $6,000 per month payment to a $1,300 mortgage payment. That's God. You see, that one decision set our church up for the next 12 years.
Our church has grown to over 1,000 gathering on Sundays, but probably 3,000 or more people now call Church Unleashed home. I look back now and proudly say, "Thank God we did not give up on that dream." Can I encourage you from experience? Don't give up on the dream. Keep pushing.
Whether you have a dream to start a business, cure a disease, help the poor, or like us start a church refuse to give up on the dream. No matter how difficult it looks or how big the challenges are do not quit. God has put the dream in your heart. Scripture declares, "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin ..." (Zechariah 4:10).
God celebrates beginnings.
You see, God cannot force you to start. Whatever dream or aspiration He has put in your heart you will always need to take the first step. That's called faith. When you set out to live the dream He has called you to the Scriptures tell us He rejoices. Why? Because He put the dream in your heart. He celebrates new beginnings.
Here's the great news, He celebrates the beginning of something, because once you start, God gets started. Listen to what the Bible promises, "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished ..." (Philippians 1:6). He continues to work the moment we say YES. Your faith unlocks your future. So, don't give up on the dream. Step out in faith and watch God you the capacity to finish strong.
God calculates building.
I believe God has put every tool in your hand that you need to accomplish the dream He has given you. He would never have given you the dream if you did not have the skills to accomplish it. Your life is calculated by God, so much so, that He even numbers the hairs on your head (Luke 12:7). Every gift, every talent, and every skill has been aligned to prepare you for the dream.
Now, Mary and I look back over the last 15 years since we started our church and we stand amazed. Everything that we thought was a setback was really a set up. God was preparing us for the challenges of leadership. From the humble beginnings of a movie theater to now owning two physical church campuses on Long Island is miraculous, to say the least.
You know what I have learned, God knows what He is doing. He doesn't make mistakes. And He did not make a mistake when He birthed that dream in your heart. You will accomplish the dreams that God has placed in you.
Start in faith.
Stay in faith.
God is just getting started and so are you. Don't give up on the dream. It will come to pass. God will "accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). So, from one dreamer to another if God did it for me, He can do it for you.