I love driving my new (to me) truck. It rides nice. It looks good. It gets up and moves when I step on the accelerator. It sits so much higher on the road, so it's much easier to see. Not to mention all the new features I did not have before: Bluetooth, navigation, remote start. It is a new driving experience.
Almost…. some things about driving do not change. Same streets, same traffic and same impatient drivers.
When you learn to drive, one of the first things to learn is where to look. You should always be looking ahead. Eyes forward. That's where your car is headed. You still must glance side to side to make sure the way is clear. Not everyone who drives, does what they are supposed to do. (Just think back to your last experience with a round-about.) You must deal with whatever comes at you from the side. And every now and then, you need to look in the rear-view mirror, to see what is coming up behind you.
It is no different leading a church. For the most part, we must keep our eyes focused ahead of us. Where is God leading us? What is next on His agenda? What are we planning for in the next six months, 12 months and three years? Looking ahead makes sure the car is always pointed in the right direction. But you must be aware what is going on beside you and what might come up from behind.
2019 was a great example of that for MCC. We had just finished with a consultant who helped set some markers in our journey ahead. We needed to renew our focus on connecting people, LIFE Groups to grow people, and developing leaders. We also needed to figure out an outreach strategy. Who are we impacting in our community? Not who are we individually sharing our faith with and inviting, but how would the church allocate resources into a mission field in our area. We decided to concentrate our creative efforts around children and teens.
These things became our “looking ahead” points. We concentrated our leadership efforts on these initiatives. In the rear-view mirror, a parking lot snuck up on us. Our 24-year-old parking lot needs resurfacing. While some in our leadership saw it coming, most of our attention was on other things. It was something we built in our past that needed new attention.
But our main focus always must be on our future. What is out in front of the windshield.
In 2020, you can expect to see…
A renewed emphasis on the importance of LIFE Groups for life change and discipleship
A cooperation of efforts between our ministries to reach people
More emphasis on getting involved… Jesus did not call us to watch, he called us to be in the game.
We will see more emphasis on developing ministry outside our church to our community and WITH our community
A challenge to step up into leadership... to help carry on the mission of God for our church.
A challenge to learn how to share our faith as individual believers
I realize that is a mouthful, but God has always wanted us to be a church where changed people are reaching people for Christ. We need to mobilize our church for the transformation of our community. When we keep our eyes on these things… we are looking ahead. Focusing on these things is not always easy.
Paul said it like this in his letter to the church in Philippi… “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” NIV Philippians 3:14
Pressing on is the picture of moving forward, even when moving forward is not easy. So, let’s press on and move forward. It will involve some change, but we are a changed, and changing people around here. On the first Sunday in January, we will share even more about this and what we believe God is doing here at Macomb.
We are looking ahead to 2020. We are still driving the same roads in our community and the driving laws have not changed. But hopefully God is giving us a new driving experience to enjoy being on the road. Join us early in 2020.