acornZechariah 4:10 says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” In this case, we are hearing about the rebuilding of Jerusalem, but I think there are a lot of small and very humble beginnings in our lives and service to God and they can be disheartening and frustrating. Don’t let that happen. There’s very little in the Kingdom of God that is actually small, no matter how it may appear to us.

This ministry for example is nowhere near what I anticipated it being. I wanted to start a creative arts ministry team at my local church. It was going to be called A.M.O.K. Arts Ministry Outreach for the Kingdom. We were going to create productions and exhibitions where believing creatives would work side by side with unbelieving creatives, building relationships and hopefully sharing faith (and salvation) as a result. Those productions and exhibitions were then going to be used to share God’s message with the audiences that came to see them. It was a beautiful vision, one that is still very near and dear to my heart. It “failed.” I could never get a strong enough core group to make a go of it.

In the mean time, I was getting all of these ideas for ways to use art to teach Gospel lessons to youth and I was using them to teach my youth group. I wanted so much more for A.M.O.K. and while I loved my youth and my youth ministry, I was feeling like a failure. Providentially, at this time I was also learning how to build websites at my day job. I decided to share all these ideas I was getting on the web. People began to contact me and I started to do workshops at their invitation.

Then a little later, I planted a church. I had grand ideas that this would be the church “run A.M.O.K.” That I would build my original vision into this church. Once again, it “failed” but I began to paint every Sunday with my messages and began to really see the power of giving people a visual to go with the message. I knew I was on to something when we had visitors and I heard my congregation sharing messages I preached months and even years before by looking at the paintings on the walls.

Eventually that church closed, but God was still at work. I was beginning to get more and more invitations to come to churches and preach using art. By the end of this year, the fourth year of intentional work at this ministry, I will have ministered in over 150 churches (Lord willing). It’s been a fantastic experience and it just seems to keep growing. God has built this ministry into what I believe He really wanted it to be and I look forward to seeing where He goes from here. Make no mistake about it though, this ministry exists because of things that I saw as failures.

It’s hard not to despise humble beginnings, especially when your dream is so much bigger than your reality. Persevere and make each step in faithfulness and you will see God work. It might not end up looking exactly like what you envisioned, but God is good.

“He who began a good work in you will carry it through to completion in the day of Christ Jesus.” He starts it. He finishes it. We get to be faithful and go along for the ride.

Prepare to be amazed.

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