Our family takes a lot of walks. Whether it’s warm or cold, we like to get outside, burn some energy, and spend some time walking around our neighborhood or one of the local parks. The other day while going for a walk, one of my kids was going pretty slow. The previous day had been active and busy for us, and now one of my kids was complaining of being a little sore and tired. As a family we had a choice to make: Do we leave a kid behind and catch up with her later, or do we slow down our pace so we can all walk together? (We decided to slow down our pace and stick together.)
While every healthy organization moves in the direction of their vision or mission, every healthy family moves at the speed of the slowest member. The church also has a direction and a speed to consider. We have a staff, building, and property to care for and maintain, and we also have a mission that extends to our surrounding community and the ends of the earth. We are a family of Jesus followers, struggling together, with patience and purpose.
The idea of needing to slow down in order to stick together seems almost un-American. We like our independence, moving at our own pace, and not being subject to someone else’s needs or ideas. We like to keep our options open when it comes to commitments. Yet I have noticed when you protect your personal independence and autonomy, your story becomes very small. Great stories instead involve faithfulness, commitment, and other people, even when things are difficult, messy, and sometimes slow.
I remember talking with a wise college friend about the church community he was part of. His church was sadly going through a major scandal, and he had every reason to bail on the church and start over somewhere else, but he told me they were staying put because “we have bound ourselves with these people and we are all in.” He shared that with me years ago, and now his church is thriving and has great influence in their community. They get to share in that church’s mission and purpose because they are “all in”, whether things are moving fast or moving slow.
We all have the option to go at our own pace, stay uncommitted, and seek greener grass when we get bored…But I’ve found that doing so is a great way to wind up truly alone and miss out on epic adventures and impact.
Consider me grateful for Hope Community Church and the epic journey we are on together!
PS: This Sunday at 10am is our Baptism Service. We have only one service, and it will be on our basketball courts. Bring a chair, stay for lunch, and plan on celebrating Hopesters making a public display of their faith through Baptism!