It has been awhile since I have posted on the blog, primarily because we have been busy getting ready to move into the new house. If you don’t know, we are renting our house to some friends who find themselves without a place to live and moving into the parsonage, which the church owns. It will save the church a lot of money, and it will help out our friends.
We have also been extremely busy working on unifying our merged congregation. Since January 10, we have been one church – worshiping as Grace Baptist Church but working on a new identity. Among other things, we’ve been gathering ideas for a new name and refining our vision statement. I cannot help but give props to our elders who go above and beyond when we ask them to do things.
One of the biggest challenges we are facing is one of over-complication. People who have been in church for a long time tend to develop a church subculture; and even people who have not been in church for that long will be drawn into the subculture – sometimes against their will. This subculture is driven by a sort of crowd inertia. In psychology, this is called herd behavior or crowd psychology. In essence the behavior of the group does not necessarily equal the opinion of the group, perhaps not even a majority of the group. Instead, the group is moved by powerful individuals or the presence of expectations.
Although this behavior is present in all kinds of groups, from social clubs to corporate offices, it is perhaps best evidenced in the churches. Think about how miserable most people in church are. Almost everyone doesn’t like something; and yet there is rarely creative thinking or discussion about the things we don’t like. In fact, when someone brings up issues that everyone has been discussing in private, they are considered bold and daring.
The power of this crowd inertia is so strong that it often silences the diverse voices that God has placed in the church to keep it alive and on focus. Without these dissenting voices being raised, the inertia drags everyone in its wake.
This is where vision becomes so important. Vision is ‘an image of the future in the mind of God’ and when we get in tune with it, we can see where we are headed. It gives us a reason to buck the crowd inertia. Without vision, we go with the crowd and follow the inertia. We don’t do it because we want to. We do it because it is the force available to us.
So, vision breaks inertia. It gives us somewhere OTHER than the natural, easy place.
The question before us is HOW do we let vision break the inertia? We have a lot of things that scream out church inertia. Vision will change those things if we are willing to let God’s vision of the future be our present occupation.