Are You Lost?

8/18/2014

FOCUS ON THE VISION
DENISE WALTON

It was a clear sign in bold letters near the airport that asked a direct question: “Are you lost?” The sign then directed the pedestrian or driver to call a number for airport information.

The reader was given a direct question with the option for a response that included a clear sense of direction. However, in order to gain access to the new directions one had to first admit that one was lost and in need of help.

For many clergy and laity in the church there is a strong and clear sense of direction. There are strategic and routine opportunities to assess, evaluate and recast vision, mission, and ministry. If there is a sense that direction is needed in one or more areas, the leadership acknowledges the current reality and seeks creative and innovative ways to engage in ministry both inside and outside the walls of the church.

However, there are other leaders, both clergy and laity, engaging in the routine tasks of ministry without a clear sense of mission, vision or purpose. Some refer to this church phenomenon as “doing what we have always done.”

How is it with you and ministry these days? Do you sense a strong direction or feel that you may be caught in a cycle of unproductive efforts toward the mission of the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ? Sometimes the answer is not a clear response but changes as we engage in ministry.

Are you lost?

No one is immune to the occasional sense of feeling and being lost. Drivers with advanced GPS equipment are still subject to poor directions that result in a temporary loss of the intended location.

Perhaps it’s time for all of us to stop moving about in circles and admit that we are strong in many areas of ministry. Let’s celebrate the ways in which we are making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Let’s also find ways to admit that in some ways we have lost a sense of direction. If we each found the courage to admit where we need help, the kingdom of God would benefit greatly from clergy and laity living out a clearer sense of direction.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3: 5-6).

Rev. Denise Walton serves as the Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries. Contact her at denise@sgaumc.org.