Stay A Little While

Stick around a little.

When I was a student at Asbury College, we had chapel three times a week.  Over the course of my studies I grew an appreciation for the words spoken over me in Hughes Auditorium.  The college president, guest preachers and fellow students all had their opportunity to fill my head with knowledge and wisdom.  I remember soaking in those last crumbs of greatness during my final chapel as a senior.  The man speaking left us with a strikingly simple commission:


“When you leave this place, find a church. Learn at that church. Serve at that church. Tithe at that church. Stay at that church.”


Find a church. Learn. Tithe. Serve. Stay a little while. @danniobracken Click To Tweet
Six short months later, I accepted an internship at Ginghamsburg Church in Tipp City, Ohio.  I was to develop the series brand and focus primarily on message graphics for adult worship.  Ironically, or perhaps God-coincidentally, the very first sermon I branded was about Mordecai.  Mordecai was Esther’s uncle (you can find the book of Esther in the Old Testament).  When Esther found unique favor with the King, Mordecai helped her understand the influence of her position.  The one-liner that was repeated over and over my first weekend at Ginghamsburg was “bloom where you’re planted”.  Recognize where God has positioned you, and leverage what influence you have to make a difference in the world (in Esther’s case, for the Jews).


The end of my college existence and the beginning of my career were anchored by a solitary thought:  Stick around a little.  Regardless of what conflicts may arise.


How many churches have you served?  How many jobs have you had?  …How many marriages have you ended? Church shopping, job hopping and marriage lopping are all evidence of a much deeper problem– we don’t trust that God’s got our back!


I’m not saying you should perpetuate unhealthy relationships, but work on your 3-P’s before you split.

All this moving around is evidence of a much deeper problem– not trusting in God's plan. @danniobracken Click To Tweet
Picture – What’s your vision?  What are the possibilities?  What are your dreams?  What is your burning bush?  What are your passions?  What do you hope for?  Proverbs 29:18


Plan – Without a strategic way forward, you’ll flounder and look for an opportunity elsewhere.


Practice – Every miracle of God involves human initiative.  Success comes after a lifelong pursuit in the same direction.


Too many people fail to leave a worthwhile legacy because they fail to accumulate a life’s work.  Instead, they turn the ignition once every few years and never get the engine turned over.  If you have no vision, no plan to strategically accomplish that vision, and zero initiation to do any of the above… chances are you’ve hopped around a little.


After 10 years at Ginghamsburg, I’ve seen people come and go–many of which remain ministry partners and friends, which by the way sometimes faithfulness can be mistaken for stubbornness… If God is calling you, be obedient.  But I’ve found more fruitful obedience in the ones who have committed to stay a little while.  In those people, I see the exponential power of God’s kingdom through discipleship and slow, methodical multiplication.


One of those people is our former (wow, it feels crazy to say that) lead pastor Mike Slaughter.  Mike bloomed where he was planted 38 years ago.  I wouldn’t be surprised if his ministry legacy has impacted millions.  “Picture, Plan and Practice” is a little trick I learned from him. He’s had plenty of bumps and bruises along the way, too.  We celebrated his retirement from Ginghamsburg on June 25, 2017.  Watch the video then plant your own mustard seed of faith (Matthew 17:20)


After celebrating, Mike was inundated with statements of gratitude.  But I caught these words from his son-in-law:


“As your son in law I wanted to thank you both personally for what you’ve done for me over the almost 18 years that I’ve known you. What resonates with me most is not the words from your mouths but the consistency of action over such a large amount of time and that to me is the definition of character. So thanks for welcoming me into your family as one of your own.”


Consistency of action over such a large amount of time. You can’t bloom without roots. Why don’t you stay a little while?