Ah, the joys of summer. Warm weather, green grass, vacations, time off of school and work. What a wonderful season! It is also a time when many things slow down and sometimes come to a halt. Attendance is down during the summer and this is to be expected. As we look toward fall and Rally Day, however, it’s a good time to start thinking of where we want to go as a church and what we have to do to get there. On the white board in my office, there is a piece of paper that I look at often to remind myself of an important truth. It was something that I got a few years ago from a Japanese blog that basically says where you want to go minus where you are equals what you need to do to get there. It is a very simple “equation,” but it’s applicable in any situation – including ours.
Over the past five months we have made progress in revitalization and, for the most part, took the summer off. If we know, as it says above, that we have to subtract where you are from where you want to be to find out what needs to be done, then we need to know where we want to be. Yes, we know we want to have more people in church. Yes, we know that we want to be a beacon of light and hope in West Rogers Park, but what does that mean? This vision will take team work as it is essential that it is not merely my vision, but rather our vision. Most importantly, we will know that it is God’s vision when we are all able to come together and agree on our mission and purpose. This must be corporate and not individual and will require discernment on all of our parts.
So, what’s next? Well, in order to find out what the community needs from us we have to ask. We have to meet folks in the community and ask them what the most pressing issues are in West Rogers Park. This will take work and a considerable amount of intentionality, but I have no doubt that we can do it together. I want to encourage each of us to stick around after church some Sunday and pick a direction and start walking. I know that this has been done and I think it’s time to do it again. Go to the local Starbucks and strike up some conversations. Go to the local gas station and start talking to customers and employees. Go to Target, Starbucks, and other places that have bulletin boards and see what kinds of groups are being organized in the area. Go online and search for non-profits in our area and see what issues they are addressing. All of these things will give us a better idea of who God is calling us to be and how to get there. I have great confidence that we can go from good to great and I am more than honored to be your leader at this point in the journey. Let’s see what can happen when we all pitch in and build a vision together.