I can’t say that I’ve ever met anyone who would leave on vacation without some planning. Do you know of anyone who would load the car, jump in and take off driving without some sense of where they wanted to go? Of course not. There has to be some planning before heading out. Even without a clear destination, the direction you’re heading will determine the type of clothing you pack. Likewise, you normally have some type of roadmap, be it paper or electronic, something to assist you in moving forward in the correct direction.
Have you ever read of a successful business that never had a business plan – a roadmap of where they were taking the business? No, success is like a vacation, a process and requires planning and preparation. In business as in a vacation, there has to be some planning before heading out. You need a roadmap with your beginning point and your intended destination.
Is it possible many churches today have disregarded their roadmap? Churches wandering through the course of life’s streets without understanding their current reality and without a plan to reach their destination are indeed wandering as lost strangers in an unknown city without any roadmap.
We must admit many churches are likely using a roadmap of memories. Have you ever revisited a place you first visited as a child, only to find everything has changed? You make a left turn because you remember the good times at a certain location, only to find nothing resembles your memory. Streets are not the same. Buildings are completely different. Nothing is as you remember it. Yet, you keep driving, looking for something that looks familiar.
This is truly what is happening in many churches today. As Lyle Schaller once wrote, “Congregations that are simply drifting in a goalless manner into the future do not find it useful to identify either their destination nor their beginning point called contemporary reality.”
Before you can head toward your destination, you must first understand your current reality. Where are you truly at right now? It is easy to point out the things as we envision them. However, like the traveler going back to a childhood scene, your current reality may not be as clear as you recall it. In Reaching the Summit, the book and the process, churches are asked to go through A Vigorous Face to Face Summit with Reality. This is a look at the true reality of the church’s present condition in connection with the Great Commission and other New Testament scriptures.
Every evangelical New Testament church should understand her destination is to fulfill the Great Commission. With that end in mind, we must strive to gain an understanding of our true current reality. After wrestling with gaining God’s perspective on our true current reality, a church can now begin mapping out a course of action – the trip you will be taking in fulfilling the Great Commission according to God’s plan. Each person connected to a church has a role to play and every person has an active part of God’s plan for his/her church.
What does your church’s roadmap look like? Are you active in helping your church reach its God-given destination? After reading this article, what should your prayer include?