The warmth of the car felt nice, and the dark roads lulled everyone but the driver and myself to sleep. I am not sure how long I had been watching the green mile markers on the side of the road before I realized they were going up, not down. Eventually it would dawn on me that we were driving north, not south. We would have to travel 27 miles more miles out of our way before we could turn ourselves around and get going in the right direction. We limped home with just enough gas, but the error depleted us of what litter energy we had left. Had I not seen the signs along the side of the road, who knows how far out of our way we would have gone before we would have really been in trouble.
A church’s life often takes similar journeys. Congregations often operate in cruise control, overlooking the warning signs that they are going the wrong way. Instead of following the uncertainty of the Spirit, many churches just keep going and going the same way. When they realize they’re not where they want to be, they are often out of gas and out of money. It’s imperative that we keep alert to God’s warning signs that are all around the community and the people we serve. We cannot afford to be like the Pharisees, whose religious habits were causing them to miss seeing God in their midst. As our spiritual practices become automatic, we too become vulnerable. We tend to fall asleep at the wheel. This is what makes change both necessary and difficult.
As the church is busy preparing for the Annual Meeting on January 28, I’d like to invite each board and committee to look at the way your group has operated over the last year and contemplate new ways to help the church move in a different direction. I encourage you all to publish those ideas and goals in your report. Likewise, if anyone has an idea, opinion, objective, concept, or proposal, please feel free to share it. A new church year always brings new opportunities to implement new ideas through mutual ministry. After all, this is our church. And together we take this journey. I’m buckled in for the ride. Are you?