Dr. Phillip Brassfield
Several years ago, a young man drove me to a rundown building in a busy part of town. The building looked abandoned. What was once a beautiful retail center, no doubt filled with the latest fashions or home furnishings, now sat in darkness, cold, and empty. Now, clearly overlooked by the powerbrokers of the city and considered past its prime, it sat alone, ignored, irrelevant.
As we pulled into the parking lot, I asked the young man, “What do you see here?” He quickly responded, “I see a church. I see people – children and young adults. I see families, all sorts of people serving, reaching and loving the community to Jesus.” He said, “I see a Kingdom center with supernatural possibilities.” I remember thinking, after we finished our tour, “What a monumental undertaking.”
A little over a year later, I traveled back to dedicate the building as a church. It was filled with excited people who were living the dream of a young, visionary man of God.
Dreams can and do come true
As I reflect on this story, I am reminded of the power of a dream and how God uses our imaginations and the dreams conceived there as a channel to introduce His purpose in our lives and into the lives of others we lead. I know this to be true; I can testify. Destiny Ministries was conceived in my heart as a dream for a ministry that would identify, develop and serve ministry leaders. Every facet of Destiny, every department and operation was conceived, charted and strategized in my imagination before Destiny existed. (I still have the visioneering sheets.) Now, all these years later, after having labored in that same dream for over two decades, here are several things I’ve learned about dreams and what you can expect when they come:
- Dreamers are inspired to dream, because God wants to introduce or accomplish something in the world.
- Dreams are containers; they hold and carry God’s purpose into the earth. When God wants to do something on earth, He plants a seed in the heart of a leader and inspires him or her to act.
- Dreams have layers that must be discovered and become more powerful the deeper into them you go.
- Dreams involve a process that inspires people, invites group participation, and makes room for others to share in the dream.
- Dreams become a reality and are sustained when a team invests themselves in the purpose they carry.
The Wilcox Turf Farm
I illustrated my idea that morning with the story of the Wilcox Turf Farm. It had been told to me years before by a businessman after a leadership session I had taught on potential. The man came up to me and asked if I was familiar with the story of the Wilcox Turf Farm in Arkansas where we lived. He said that the farm had been on the market for sale for a long time with no interest. It was an undeveloped section of land along the Arkansas River. It was on the market so long that a large wooden sign that advertised it to the passersby had rotted down and lay in the tall grass below. The land was cheap, priced to sell.
One day a fellow had an idea to develop it and asked the price. After a bit of negotiation, he purchased the land nobody wanted. It was a large tract of land, and he bought it for only a few hundred thousand dollars. Before he set out to develop it, he had a core sample taken and an analysis of the materials that lay beneath the surface. As it turns out, the first layer was prime topsoil, the kind you buy at the local home improvement store in bags. And the layer was almost a hundred feet thick, then grade A sand suitable for construction purposes was below that, followed by feet and feet of pea gravel suitable for concrete. The core sample analysis was appraised, and the land was valued at over 63 million dollars in raw materials. It began with topsoil and became more valuable the deeper you went into the ground.
I explained to them that God-type dreams are like that. They often begin in the unlikely and unexpected, but have layers that become more valuable the deeper into the dream you would go. I encouraged them to not stop until every layer of the dream had been discovered.
Dreams have a process; do your part…
I next encouraged them with the fact that for a dream to be sustained long-term, there is a process that must be followed. And there is room for everyone to play a part in the process. In fact, long-term success demands it.
Great achievements, all dreams that are destined to become a reality, follow a predictable process that involves more than one person. While dreams begin with a dreamer, they seldom stop there. A God dream takes a team to produce. Why? Because seldom does any one person, a dreamer, for example, possess all the gifts, talents and skill sets needed to bring the dream to its greatest potential. Big dreams must have a communal quality. Through the gravity they create, they inspire people to participate. Leadership is about making a place for inspired people to serve the dream.
The process, I told them, looks something like this:
- Someone must dream it and see it. This is the visionary leadership component.
- Someone must believe it. This is the faith part, the supernatural secret sauce of everything in the Kingdom of God.
- Someone must fund it. This is the provisional and resource element.
- Someone must strategize and organize it. This is the management component.
- Someone must commit to it. This is the faithfulness and follow-through part.
Yes, God uses a leader with a vision, but great dreams are supported through a process that involves others, and depending on the size of the dream, perhaps many others. When each person brings their gifts, their talents, and their skills to bear on the project, a dream becomes a mission.
Today, you may have a dream, a vision of something God wants to do. Dare to dream – dream big, for sure. But understand this: Dreams have layers and a process. Dreams involve inspiring people to bring their gifts, talents, and skills to invest into the purpose the dream has created. This is when a dream becomes a purpose, a mission. When they do, and as you unpack your dream, you will discover layers that can become more valuable the deeper you go.