Dwight Nash, senior pastor at Sent Church in Plano, Texas, shared this TED Talk at a recent Exponential (church planting) shoulder event of The Wesleyan Church. Around 200 Wesleyan district superintendents, pastors, and leaders were in attendance.

Have you ever felt as if the Lord set you up to fail? If so, he has you right where he needs you.

You know the story! Jesus was preaching to 5,000 men all day and the day started to get long and the disciples began to be concerned because they knew the people were getting hungry. And it was here that Jesus said the most amazing thing possible to his disciples. You know what he said? You plant a church! You give them something to eat. Two equally impossible tasks!

It’s a miracle that is a model of what the disciples had to learn for the rest of their lives–us too.

Interestingly, “He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do” (John 6:6). Are you kidding me? Do you realize the Lord deliberately brings us to the place where we are powerless, where we simply cannot feed the five thousand or plant a church and he does it deliberately?

He was deliberately giving them something, commanding them to do something they could not do.

Why does he send us out to do things we can’t do? Why does he send them out and make them face their utter inadequacy?

He sends us out to make sure we know how utterly incapable we are of doing what he called us to do.

Now I wonder if, right now, you’re struggling with an overwhelming requirement from the Lord. Scared. But you are up against a wall and you’re struggling. (This was a spiritual leadership principle the disciples needed to learn and we need to learn as well.)

You must do what you cannot do with what you do not have for the rest of your life.

Jesus is never going to give you any assignment you can do on your own. He will only give you assignments that force you to radically, desperately depend on him. Spiritual leader, you must do what you cannot do with what you do not have, and it will never change for the rest of your life. You are a leader!

The point of this miracle is that this is the norm in serving Christ. Not the occasional, not the unusual. It’s the norm. You are always up against the wall of inadequacy, because what I can tell you is Jesus can never give you something you can do. It’s contrary to who he is. He can only give you supernatural responsibilities. That’s all he has to offer. That’s the greatness of being a leader for him. You are called to do things that you cannot do, that you could never do.

Welcome to church planting! Spiritual leadership!

I call on you to take a deeper step than ever in putting your heart on the altar of God and say, “Lord, I’m going to stop trying to prove I’m adequate. Here are the five loaves, here are the two fish–they’re in your hands. Put in my hands what you want me to have, and I will serve you.”

You must do what you cannot do with what you do not have for the rest of your life.

But that’s not the end. We must go back to the feeding of the five thousand. It’s in Mark 6:41. They have brought the five loaves and the two fish to Jesus and they have asked simply the most logical, rational question they could ever ask. “But what is this among so many” (cf. John 6:9). Surely as a planter you have uttered words like those?

Yet Jesus directed them to break the group into fifties and have them sit down. And you know the most amazing thing? Those disciples did what he told them to do. They couldn’t feed 5,000, and we can’t plant a church–but we can be obedient and count to 50!

When Jesus prayed and he received the bread and then he prayed, then you know what He did? He broke that bread and he took it from his hand and put it in their hands. That’s the way reality is. We bring what resources we have and they are never enough. We put them in his hands and then he says, “Well, wait a minute now. Now stay here. Don’t go yet. Hold out your hand.” And he puts in our hands a part of the five loaves and two fish. He says, “Now go and do what I told you to do . . . you give them something to eat!” (cf Mk. 6:37). Then the miracle occurs. Church planting is a miracle. If you’ve done it, you feel so inadequate. You never have enough.

Doesn’t this challenge you? Don’t you find this exciting? Doesn’t this stir you? That the Lord could use you to meet the needs of people in ways you never dreamt of before? Don’t run away from his opportunities. Don’t say to Him, “I can’t do this.” Oh, you should say that to him, but that is not a reason why you should not step forward. Why you should not bring what you have and say, “All right, Lord, whatever you have, I’ll take it from you.” You must do what you cannot do with what you do not have for the rest of your life and if you do he will do what he can do with what little you place in his hands for the rest of your lives!