By Barbara Sadler, Path 1 Associate
My husband Herb and I recently took a little vacation time and went on a road trip. We love to travel, and we especially enjoy spending time together in the car. It was a really great trip. Over the course of the week there was only one time we got out of sorts with each other.
We were trying to find historic Williamsburg using a little tourist map that didn’t indicate one-way streets or even clearly identify “historic” from anything else. We didn’t know our exact destination, only a general one. We would start down one street only to discover after a little while that we were going the wrong way. We would do a u-turn and start down another street that would curve around and take us where we didn’t want to go. With one driving and one “navigating” while in motion, we became a little snappish with each other (snappish is code for arguing).
The remainder of our trip we used our GPS. All we needed to do was put in our destination and the GPS would guide us, telling us when to turn and on what street, even warning us of an upcoming turn. If we accidentally turned on the wrong street, our GPS would “recalculate” and direct us back to the correct path. GPS has been around so long I think we take for granted this amazing technology. We have a guidance system beaming down to us from a satellite in the heavens that keeps us moving on the right path to reach our desired destination. And we had fun getting there!
Our lives and our churches also have a guidance system beaming down from heaven. For every life and every church God has a vision for fruitfulness. That vision is our exact destination. When you’re preparing to plant a new church do you simply look for the person with the best-sounding vision for the church or do you come together in prayer inviting God to choose the destination?
As we plant new faith communities, the very first thing to do is discern God’s vision and then follow God’s direction for reaching that vision. It’s only natural that relying on our own individual visions will create conflict because our visions will never quite line up exactly with each other. But if we let God set the vision then we’ll be united as a church and thus able to reach our goal much quicker and easier. Just as with our earthly GPS, we won’t have the whole map laid out before us, but we will have God’s guidance telling us when we need to turn the corner and which way to turn. And if we make a wrong turn, God will redirect us back to the right road. We take the turns in the road as they come, trusting that God will get us to that place he desires for us. And we will have fun getting there!
Let God guide your church to its next destination. Do you remember a time when your congregation lost its sense of direction in ministry? How did God help you get back on course?