In 2015, I organized Vision of Hope Baptist Church and found that I had a very challenging dilemma. I needed to select and train individuals to become leaders at our church; however, I found myself in fear. My fear was not a result of being afraid to ask some of our members to become a part of our leadership ministry. I was more fearful of making similar mistakes in the present that I made in the past. In the past, I was the pastor of an established church. As a result, I trained leaders to lead and help enact the vision that was given to me by God. Yet, some of the leaders I selected to train would later become adversaries and attempt to prohibit God’s vision from being enacted.
One day, my wife saw the agony and stress on my face and inquired about what was bothering me. When I informed her that I felt God’s calling to ask various members to become a part of the leadership ministry, I confessed that I was becoming very fearful. I further explained that I did not trust my own decisions because I had selected and trained various leaders in the past at our previous church and the outcome was more destructive than productive. My beautiful wife said the following, “Wayne, our congregation cannot move forward if you are constantly looking back in your rear view mirror.” She continued to explain, “you cannot go back and correct the past. Whatever decisions you made, it is in the past. You must learn from the past and continue to move forward.” She further stated, “you are the pastor of a new church God called you to organize. You are not at the established church anymore so you cannot continue to beat yourself up about the past. If you continue to look in the rear view mirror, you will always look in the past and not look forward to fulfilling God’s plans for you and the church. Our church cannot move forward if you are constantly looking at your past through your rear view mirror.”
This advice really ministered to me. As a church organizer, I was blessed to receive God’s vision to organize a church. However, I did not identify that I was carrying the pain of my past into a new situation. If anyone has had a similar situation, let me bless you with the following advice: If a person continues to look in the rear view mirror of their past, they will lose focus on the vision God has assigned to be performed and implemented in the present. Looking backwards will frustrate and keep a church organizer stagnant and have a negative impact on the entire congregation. A person has to learn from the mistakes of his or her past and move forward with God’s vision in the present. This can only be done if the individual makes the conscious decision to look forward and stop looking through the rear view mirror of their past.
Wayne Weathers, Vision of Hope Baptist Church