I wonder how many of us follow through on our good ideas. We dream up a plan. We develop a vision. We write a proposal. The wheels of momentum begin to turn, but we can’t quite seem to sustain what we’ve started. Or we begin down a certain track only to have unexpected challenges force our vision off the road.
If you are at all like me, composing the vision is not the difficult part–keeping it on course is. If you’ve been tracking my blog, you are aware that my congregation is considering the launch of a very different kind of ministry. The Well is designed with the unchurched and the barely churched in mind. The Well is our response to the fact that, in large measure, my generation (I’m 35) and the generation after me, aren’t attending church. Part of me gets that. I am not too many years removed from the days when church bored me to tears. It shouldn’t be this way…ever. The message of Jesus Christ is the most exciting message in the history of the world….but you wouldn’t know that by examining the way some congregations deliver that message. Or, as a colleague of mine puts it, ‘We’ve managed to make the most irresistible message in the world resistible.’
I’m not trying to be unkind. I am, however, eager for the local church to amend their delivery (not the content!) of the Christian message. The container needs to change in order to be comprehensible to a new generation (1 Corinthians 10:22, 23).
So, here I am ready to go. The proposal for The Well has been written, printed, copied, distributed, and posted online. We’ve had committee meetings, presentations, and prayer meetings around the prospect of launching The Well. The word is out, I’m convinced of that. I’m not convinced, however, that the word is sticking.
I’m grateful to have come across a little book, written by Andy Stanley, entitled, ‘Making Vision Stick’. That’s my challenge today as I type this. I’m learning the hard way (as usual) that ‘Vision doesn’t have much adhesive’ and that ‘vision doesn’t stick without constant care and attention’ (Stanley).
Someone might say, ‘Bryn, if the vision is of God, it will stick.’
I think that is partly right. If the vision is of God, it will stick to some degree. It will stick in some places and with some people. By no means, do I think successful launch of The Well depends entirely upon the leadership of Bryn MacPhail. Nor do I think I am irrelevant to that process either. If the vision doesn’t stick, the leader, or the courier, of that vision needs to look in the mirror and examine what he or she did or didn’t do to keep the plan on track.
That’s where I’m at today. I’m praying. I’m wrestling. I’m strategizing. I’m hoping. And, I’m wondering if you have any ideas around what it takes to make a vision stick.