God’s plans are often different than mine.
I have sometimes wondered why God’s plans are so often different than my own! I’ve concluded that it’s one way He lets me know He’s in control—not me—keeping me relying on Him. And although perhaps not what I had planned, despite my wondering why, I’ve learned that God’s way is always better than mine.
This has proven true in my experience as a Q Place initiator as well.
In the last couple of years, I felt God leading me to start a Q Place at my local YMCA. My friend Mona and I were planning to co-initiate. We publicized with posters, on the radio, in the newspaper, and with personal invitations. But the day of our first meeting, not one person joined us.
We persisted, trying to get the group off the ground by consistently continuing to meet for several weeks, inviting new people to join us at the “Y” each flip of the calendar. Still, only one other person came. I ended up referring her to another Q Place group in town that better suited her needs. Mona and I stopped our efforts, figuring the group at the Y was a NO-GO! However, God had other plans.
My friend Carole, deeply involved in another ministry effort, encouraged me to try again. She said she would help me publicize and would pray with me. After more prayer, I was willing to give it another try.
Guess what? Once more, at the first meeting, not one person came! And this time around, Mona, my co-initiator, got a job and was unable to help. That night, I got in a serious discussion with God:
“Lord, what is going on?! The door is open at the Y so where is everybody? I thought this is what you wanted me to do!”
Well, that evening I had a dream, and in that dream, God asked me to invite three Christian friends who’d I’d been in a group with at my church for the past couple of years. When I woke up I asked God, “Was that dream from You? Aren’t I supposed to invite people outside the church and far away from You?”
Still unsure, I decided to invite my three church friends to this Q Place at the Y and ask each of them to invite one more person to come. Little did I know, they were very interested in reaching out to others in this way. All three said yes!
So at the next scheduled meeting time, I brought a neighbor, that neighbor brought a friend, one of the other co-initiators brought her mom, and our group at the YMCA really started!
It was still a humble beginning, but before long God began to open door after door! Someone saw a poster at a local restaurant and came. Another lady swimming at the Y asked the lifeguard if there was a group like ours meeting there! I met a new friend while exercising and she came, bringing three friends with her! On and on it went until we had eighteen people in the group!
And we have celebrated victories! One member had been far from Jesus, but began to read her Bible and then started attending my church. A YMCA staff member began attending another local church. A third woman started coming after backing out multiple times. She realized that our group would be a safe place to admit she wasn’t sure what she believed. Several others suffered with depression and the group encouraged them.
Wow! Take heart! God’s plans ARE often different because they’re much better! HE will make it happen! We just need to stay obedient, keep praying, and watch Him bring to fruition what He wants—in His time and in His way.
Q Place Catalyst and Initiator