“Should we go or should we stay?” Faith as Adventure

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Faith is the principle at the heart of adventure.

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:6)

It’s the “not knowing” and yet “obeying” that resonates here. It’s the DNA of every decision you make that puts God first.

Come to think of it, what level of faith is involved if you know precisely where you’re going and what you’re doing and how you’re going to do it? (Answer: Not a lot).

On a church level, it all comes down to the simple choice of the title question. “Should we go or should we stay?” This is a question that cuts to the chase of every other question. It’s a question of fundamental ideology.

You might ask, for example, in measuring the effectiveness of the church: “How many visitors have we attracted?”

It seems a reasonable enough question, but it’s a “Stay put” question. I’d rather ask the question, “How many members have we sent?” How many folks have we empowered to get going in ministry? What is our sense of the word apostolic”? Are we geared towards evangelism as an outwardly mobile lifestyle?

Of course, these kind of questions suggest a coherent, integrated and unified system of choice. How do we decide what to do?  For example, when contemplating some form of change, we may think: “If this proves upsetting to any of our members, we won’t do it.” And, once again, that is a static, expression of immobility based on comfort. The “Go” statement is very different: “If this proposed activity will help us bless and touch someone outside of our faith community, let’s take the risk and try it.”

To make such a statement requires a Big Picture vision that is oriented around mobility and flexibility. But we are “called to go” and our obedience ensures our “inheritance.” And that is a treasure that is not to be quantified in real estate, but in changed lives.

We cannot respond to change by thinking how it will affect us , but rather how it will align our activities around the mission of God.

It’s the choice between being faithful to our past or faithful to our future. Sometimes you can only choose one. You can’t drive your car safely whilst constantly looking in the rearview mirror, right? (As I can assure you from personal experience)

We either seek to avoid conflict at any cost (and rarely succeed), or we accept that conflict is the price of progress, and a price that must be paid.

We either develop a managerial approach to leadership, where the emphasis is on keeping everything in order and running smoothly,or we focus on a transformational style, casting a vision of what can be, and marching off the map in order to bring the vision into reality.

We either get wrapped up in ourselves,  our organizations and structure, our constitutions and committees – or with the culture outside, with understanding how secular people think and what makes them tick. We pray to determine their needs and their points of accessibility to the Gospel.

We either ask “How many Christians, who aren’t currently members, live within a twenty-minute drive of this church?” or we ask “How many unreached people groups live within a twenty-minute drive of this building?” 

We either look at the community and ask: “How can we get these people to come to our church?” or we ask: “How can we go and be engaged with these people?”

We either think about how to save our congregation or we dream of planting new ones to extend the Kingdom of God.

If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine: it’s lethal.

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