Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Eating the Elephant

The old adage asks: "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer, "One bite at a time." I love that. It reminds us that most of the challenges we face in life are too large to tackle in one sitting. Success comes by making steady, intentional progress over the long haul. This is true in raising our kids, planning for retirement, enriching our marriages and growing a church.

A year-and-a-half ago our leaders began eating the elephant of transforming our church family. We had a vision for a healthy growing church that is welcoming newcomers, growing disciples and impacting our community. The elephant was big. God's dreams usually are. One thing we were sure of was that if we tried to do everything at once, with our limited resources, it was a recipe for failure. We knew we had to break this task into bite size pieces, find a logical starting place, and go to work.

One obvious, and often forgotten, part of this approach is that we will always see things that need our attention that we haven't gotten to. It is easy to see the parts of the elephant that haven't been eaten yet. I think one of the challenges of the adage is not to be overwhelmed and discouraged by looking at what has yet to be accomplished but to keep making steady progress "convinced that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion" (Phil. 1:5-7).

The first course of our renewal was a focus on our Foyer. The foyer is the place we are welcoming guests. With God's provision, we have spent the last year upgrading our facilities, refining our follow-up processes, lifting the level of our worship experience and learning to be good hosts. We have worked hard, and there is more to do. God is blessing our efforts and new families are connecting with our congregation. Our foyer is functioning well. Yet, we realize what we have just eaten is not the whole elephant. In other words, none of our leaders are interested in being a welcoming church with no spiritual depth, where no lives are changing, which is making no impact on our community. Therefore...

This summer marks a shift in focus in our transformation process, a second course. We are stepping down from our Foyer to focus on the Living Room. The living room is where our members do life together. The living room is the place where we truly focus on God's work of life-transformation, becoming more like Jesus. Our leaders are committed to be a church whose members are concerned about the things God is concerned about. Sean has come on board to help carry this burden. Tomorrow I'll share with you some exciting first steps that you will begin to see the week of July 27th.

Till then, keep praying for Community and eating the elephant of God's purpose for your life, one bite at a time.

1 comment:

Sean McCarthy said...

This is so true. our human flaw is that we want the end result without all the messy work it takes.