British novelist Sir William Golding once wrote this:
“Consider a man riding a bicycle. Whoever he is, we can say three things about him. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. Most important of all, we know that if at any point between the beginning and the end of his journey, he stops moving and does not get off the bicycle, he will fall off it. That is the metaphor for the journey through life of any living being.”
I think it is a great metaphor for life’s journey – not only for us as individuals, but also for us collectively. For surely our church is a living being, an organic entity which is engaged in a movement from beginning to end with every grace-filled moment inbetween. And just as surely, if at some point between our starting and our ending, we decide to stop moving – to coast, if you will – we run the risk of falling.
In some ways this is the only real threat to our continuation as a body of Christ, the illusion that it is possible for us as a congregation to stop moving forward. God has called us into existence and continues to call us into mission for the sake of Jesus Christ. It is not possible for us to simply coast or even to stop altogether and still remain a vibrant, vital community of faith.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr put it this way:
“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but we must SAIL, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”
This is what our Strategic Planning process is all about. It is about helping us to figure out which direction we need to move in the next five years. It is about staying on the bicycle (to use Golding’s metaphor), or attending to our sails (to pick up on Holmes’ imagery) in order to remain faithful to God’s calling and most effective in our mission of making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Saturday, July 28th, lay and staff leadership will come together to create 3 to 5 goals for the next 5 years at FUMC. Watch for more information here, in newsletters and in August orientation sessions, then join us for an All Church Conference September 9th to adopt the plan and to covenant together to keep moving forward!