‘How do I start?’ is a typical question to ask when God first lays something on your heart. How do I transfer it from just being a dream into something that actually exists?

My twofold advice is to start small and grow slow. You may have a vision in your heart of the project when it’s grown to be something huge and successful, but most visions don’t start that way. They start as something small, and over time they grow into something significant.

I know a couple in India who run an orphanage that provides food, accommodation and education for over 60 children. It’s an amazing place to visit, to see so many children have a home and a loving background, who would otherwise be living on the streets. It’s an incredible vision that is being lived out, but it didn’t begin on that scale.

It began when the couple sent their children to the local school, and the children said many of their school friends didn’t eat lunch each day because their parents were too poor to send them with either money or food. So this couple started to send extra packed lunches to school every day; three for their own children, and three additional lunches, so each child could feed a friend. From that initial act of kindness their involvement grew, to a point where they now look after an entire orphanage. They started something small, and it grew into something significant over time.

Whenever we visit a large church it’s easy to assume it must have always been that way. But every large church started out initially as a small church. Start small and grow slow is often the best mantra.

When John Wesley died in 1791 he was overseeing over 500 Methodist societies, with a combined membership of 72,000 – a huge and significant undertaking by any measure. But it didn’t start out like that. Wesley began in 1738 with a handful of people meeting together in London. Later on he also inherited a congregation from George Whitefield in Bristol. He then spent three years shuttling between these two cities, overseeing these two societies. He started small, and the movement grew slowly at first. But grow it certainly did, and became something incredibly significant.

So if you’re asking yourself ‘How can I start?’, I encourage you to think small first of all. What are the small steps you could take towards beginning the vision? Take a few of these, and see what doors God then opens up. Don’t expect everything to be handed to you on a plate to begin with. But if you start small and grow slow, who knows how significant it could become a few years down the line…

Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s an experienced leadership trainer, author of biographies on John Wesley and William Wilberforce, and is also passionate about praying for London. He enjoys good films, good food, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markonerock.