Many times my kids will ask something like, “Can we go to McDonalds?” or at 10:00 at night, “Can we play a game?” The answer is “No.” However, I am guilty sometimes of saying, “Probably not” or “Not right now.” instead of “No.” Which in my mind is definitive, but in their minds it leaves open the hint of possibility. I need to just say,”no” and not leave them any possibility, if I know it isn’t going to happen.
When it comes to leadership in the church, especially a new church, we get questions like that a lot of times. No, people don’t want to go to Mickey D’s, but they are looking for something they WANT. Some things I’ve heard or been asked since we started CATR:
- “When are we going to be starting the Adult Sunday School classes?”
- “When you are ready to start the choir, I’d like to be involved.”
- “I’ll help lead the Ladies Morning Bible Study ministry.”
- “When will the youth have their own worship service on Sundays?”
- “When you get ready to hire a youth minister…”
- “Do you all have a Mother’s Morning Out?”
- “When we get a building, we’ll start Sunday School, right?”
- “Children’s Choirs would be such a good thing for my kids to be involved in.”
- “AWANA’s is a great program…”
- “My teenager and his friends have this band…”
- “When we get a building, I know a lot of this will change…”
- “Scrapbooking is a great way to get people together…”
Yes, I have actually heard all of these, or something close to these. Some of them more than once and there are plenty more where those came from too. For MOST of these the answer is definitely “NO.” For all of them the answer is “Probably not.” Yes that leaves open the hint of possibility that a CATR Scrapbooking Ministry might one day be on the horizon somewhere…NAH! While I never want to limit what God may plan, there might be some things that He would change in the future. However, we feel strongly about the vision He has givien us for CATR…notice the emphasis. HE has given the vision. Not Steve, Doug, Wendell or anyone else. It is God’s vision. Sounds kind of arrogant, but it really isn’t. It’s actually pretty humbling to know that you aren’t on your own agenda. It is all about Him and His purposes.
The problem I have had is that, in an effort not to make anyone mad when a suggestion like those above comes up, I might say something like, “Probably not right now.” OR “Well, you know we don’t have a facility of our own, so we just can’t right now…” Which gives them a sense of a hint of possibility. Instead, I need to simply say, “No, that’s not part of God’s plan here.” Cut and dried. Straighforward. Simple. If you are looking for a…whatever ministry…fine. There is nothing wrong with any of the things mentioned above. Really! There is nothing evil about them. There are plenty of churches, and other places, in the community where one can find all of that. It just isn’t what God called us to do at CATR.
He has given us a simple vision: “Impacting another generation by changing people’s perspectives.” We believe that we are called to do a few things. Do them with excellence to glorify God and reach people with a fresh perspective on the church, God, themselves and others. We do Sunday Mornings (worship gatherings, childrens environments), lifeQUEST Small Groups (for adults and youth), connecting people into their “sweet spot” for ministry and missions, and equipping families to minister to and disciple their own children. All with a vision to impact a generation yet to be born (see Psalm 78). That is all we are supposed to do. Anything else?…Probably not…or just not!
Is that a “narrow” vision? Not really. It’s HUGE! But aren’t we supposed to reach the world? YES! And if we follow God’s vision, I believe we will…for generations to come!