LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS
REV. JAY HANSON
I watched a young child, his older brother, their father, and grandfather labor for hours to build a beautiful sand castle. Shortly after its completion, the tide turned and started rushing in to destroy their beautiful structure.
This was the first time the young child had actually gotten to participate in the building of the family sand castle. He could not understand why nature would destroy their work, but his commitment to the project was limited and his attention span short. So very quickly he was absorbed in playing with the family dog.
I turned my attention to the older brother. I could tell this was the best sand castle he had ever been a part of building. He was determined to save the castle – even if it meant he had to turn back the approaching tide. He built a wall to try to turn back the sea. He dug a moat to redirect the force. He bailed, he yelled, he was determined to fight it ‘til the very end.
As I looked at the grandfather I could see this was most likely the last sand castle he would ever build. He chuckled at the naïve worrying of his grandson and quietly took a seat to watch the inevitable occur. He had been to the sea many times, had built many sand castles and knew the tide always came in and won the battle to reclaim its land. To him, there was no point in fighting. Nothing could be done to save this work of art for posterity. It was better to simply resign oneself to the unavoidable effects of change and learn to live with it.
The father, on the other hand, knew the inevitable outcome of the changing tide, but was equally driven by unchanging love for his family. Understanding the symbolic importance of the castle’s construction to his family, he was determined to save it for them. It was a part of their tradition. It was the product of their labor. It held their memories and reflected their commitment. So the father pulled out a camera and took a picture!
The tides of our world are changing and the church is not exempt. As the tides pound against our church, they challenge our methods of ministry, our systems and structure, and even certain doctrines. It’s easy to become frightened in such a storm. It’s tempting to abandon ship. But rest assured, the winds of change have blown through the church many times before and God’s plan has always prevailed. I rest easy knowing our unchanging God is at the helm. Changing tides don’t lessen or threaten God’s ability to control.
While I trust the result will be good, the process might be rough. My prayer is that our commitment will be deep enough to keep us from losing interest, our wisdom will keep us from fighting to save what needs to be lost, and our zeal will keep us from simply sitting back and resigning ourselves to the inevitable. I pray that God will reveal to us all how to “take a picture” to save what really matters – love!
Looking for more leadership materials for your church? Click on the Resources tab at www.thechapelumc.com and click on Program Resources, or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jay Hanson, Lead Pastor, and Anne Bosarge, Director of Discipleship, serve at The Chapel in Brunswick. They love sharing about the ways God is moving in their church. Contact them at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.