The ocean is an amazing thing. The beauty of the waves, the constant lapping of water on the shore. The Beach and the sand as they squish through your feet. And most importantly the fun of finding the things the water washes up. One of the amazing things of the ocean is its current. Something dropped overboard from a cruise ship or tossed into the ocean from a pier on one side of the world can turn up on the opposite side all because of the current. Currents are powerful and unless there is an engine or some other force exerted against the current, an object will move and drift and get washed up.
While beach combing is fun as a pastime, the lesson of the current ought to be taken to heart by every organization. It is easy to drift, much easier than fighting against the current. It is easy to get in the water and let it take you wherever it goes. Unfortunately, many churches, non-profits and businesses adopt exactly this perspective. To let life carry you along without intentionally charting a course, correcting your course, and staying on course is dangerous. The passive process is called mission drift.
It happens when a group forgets why it exists. Every person and group of people must ask the question of purpose. The man must ask, “Why has God put me here?” The answer, “To love him. To lead his church. To enjoy an obedient relationship with Jesus.” The marriage must ask the same thing. But the answer is different. God made marriage to be a picture of Christ’s love for the church and the churches submission to Christ. Furthermore marriage exists to bring forth godly offspring. So why does the Church exist? The church exists to proclaim the gospel to the world. Now if a man, or a marriage or a church forgets why it exists and starts letting the current of culture carry it, then the answers to that question will begin to change. It will loose its created purpose and substitute a false purpose. When this happens, it is really, really hard to reclaim the original purpose, though not impossible. Through repentance, and a commitment to God’s original intention any man or woman, marriage or church can be renewed.
So why am I writing about Mission Drift? Because part of the renewal and revitalizing process of Hope in Christ Church depends upon each and every one of us believing and guarding the original vision. It depends upon us believing that we exist to be a light to the nations. It is grounded in our praying for God to make us what he desires, not what we desire. Churches like any institution can drift, but God wants to renew us. That is the gospel. He wants to breath life into the dry bones. He wants to raise the spiritually dead and the metaphorically sick and he wants to do it through us. That is his intention.
Are we willing to give up our comfort to be a part of his plans? Are we willing to change and let go of some of the things that might actually be drift instead of original. The barnacles that grow on stuff, weren’t there in the beginning but getting rid of them can be really hard. Are we willing to change the way we live, the people we talk to, the content of our conversations, the way we manage our time and the things we do with our money in order to see the lost in our world reached with the gospel of Jesus?
This encompasses the meat of our next great question for the fall. Do we have the vision, the intention and the
means to be all that God intends us to be? I believe we do, for God promises to give us every spiritual blessing in Christ. We are not lacking in courage, in wisdom, in fortitude, in a message, in hope, in the power of the supernatural, or in any thing else that really matters. God has given it all to us. We are more than conquerors and by the winds of the Spirit, we can once again hoist a sail and correct course and become an evangelistic congregation that enjoys the mission of the Lord.