Last month, I promised to dispense with asking the question, “What is God calling us to do and be?” This month I intend to make good on that promise, but some of you may wonder why. Isn’t it appropriate to talk about what we should be doing? Isn’t it appropriate to think about what we should be doing for the future? Shouldn’t we have some idea of where we are going?
Most folks who are deeply involved in business tell you:
You need to have a mission/vision statement of where you want your company to be in the next year, three years, five years, etc.
-You need to have everyone focused on that vision
-You need to build an environment suited to that vision
-You need to put that vision out to the public so that they can see what your company does.
These kinds of things have worked relatively well for the business world. There is no doubt, and these ideas have trickled into the church sometimes even to the point where the pastor is referred to as the C.E.O. of the whole operation.
But the church is not a business. Businesses have a particular objective: make money. They want customers. They have to offer a particular product and be attuned to customers needs. They have to work very, very hard to get word out about their products and services. It’s all about what the business can do to get customers to let go of their money. (Some churches might be said to operate in this fashion. I hope not ours.)
The church’s objective is not to get people to let go of their money. The church’s objective isn’t to build buildings. The church’s objective isn’t to try and get more and more people to fill the pews through programs and grander music. The church’s job is to trust in God’s work through Jesus Christ. The church’s job is to seek to understand this wonderful, amazing act of reconciliation done on our behalf. The church’s job is to have this good news sink deep into our very soul so that at our very core, at our very center is Jesus. Everything we do...Everything we say...points to Him.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that all those who believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world not do condemn the world but so that the world may be saved through Him.”
When that message takes hold of us and grasps us, it changes us. It gives us a new way of seeing things; not as a community which is trying to get something from others, but into a community which seeks to share the good news which has been given to it.
We never know how that news will be received. We never know where it might lead us. We never know how hearts will be impacted by it. We simply trust that God will bring things to fruition. This can be a bit scary because it means giving up control. However, I’d prefer a very different term: adventurous. God is leading. We are following. It’s a grand adventure into the world. I invite you to come along!