Church Planters Need to See the Unseen

Of all the many people involved in various kinds of ministry, we church planters need to lift our gaze and see the unseen.

see the unseen

Have you ever stared off into space, not really focused on anything? Me too. In my experience such a gaze comes with another lack of focus: I find that my thoughts stop as well. That inner dialogue constantly yakking in my brain goes silent at the same time my vision goes blurred. (I know what you’re thinking: maybe he’s had a stroke! But I assure you I haven’t!) Perhaps there is a physiological explanation for this kind of pause. I dunno. But there’s definitely a spiritual one. My point is: Of all the many people involved in various kinds of ministry, we church planters need to lift our gaze and see the unseen..

 Consider this passage from the Apostle Paul:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Strangely, Paul says we “fix our eyes . . . on what is unseen.” How does one do that? How can we see the unseen?

Here is an exercise in meditation: to look beyond what is seen. Do you see the opportunity? This short passage begins with “There we do not lose heart . . .” The way toward hope, the discipline of hope, is to patiently discard every thought, every idea we can generate about our life or situation, and to gaze upon the unseen, to listen to the unspoken. In short: to simply be with Him.

Try this sometime: in a quiet place and in an unhurried way, set aside your ability to reason or even to verbalize your thoughts. Let your eyes and mind stare into Heaven’s space. You needn’t fear: if we ask for the Holy Spirit’s presence we can be sure the Spirit will meet us. Some of our most hope-filled moments will come not from what is seen, thought, or heard, but what enters our heart when we see the unseen.

 

This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.

Ray Hollenbach
Ray Hollenbach helps pastors and churches navigate change. He's the founder of DEEPER Seminars, weekend leadership retreats focused on discipleship in the local church. His devotional book "Deeper Grace" is available at Amazon.com He currently lives in central Kentucky. He's also the author of of "The Impossible Mentor", a deep dive into the foundations of discipleship.