Endeavouring to think “outside of the square” is fundamental in a time when the scale of change in the world is phenomenal. Human cloning, genetically modified foods, cars that guide you through traffic – these are just some of the quantum leaps in thinking we have seen in recent years – “outside the square” events which change the ways in which we live. It is no longer safe to assume that things will continue as they are, nor that they will simply develop logically and systematically. Major breakthroughs in thinking happen daily throughout the world. We must adjust to this rapidly-changing reality by learning to ‘think ahead’ and to think ‘contingently’. We already know that the context of ministry here is vastly different from the style of church we have been handed to minister to it. Even adjusting to the realities of today will leave us behind.
We now face a new threshold of thinking in the life of the church. Although the new lease on the property provides some income security for the next five years, we must not rest on our laurels. Good stewardship requires that we think creatively and constructively about the future of the church and its property. What will we do in five years’ time when the current lease expires? The easy option will be to continue that which has been so for 45 years, but is that in the best interests of the ministry of the church and of its future? Even in its present form the lease is a poor investment, returning less than half of what other investments might bring. Can we afford to continue in this way?
The next three years provides us with a safe time for thinking creatively. We will be in no position to act on ideas, which means we can be as creative and off-the-wall as we like. Let us leave no idea unspoken. We have about three years to generate a range of ideas. When you get an idea, write it down. No idea will be rejected.
It is a sign of the Spirit’s coming that “your young men (and women) will see visions, and your old men (and women) will dream dreams” – the very text of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost. It is my prayer that this sign of the Spirit’s presence will be amongst us, not only for the ministry of the coming years, but as we think ahead to the end of this current lease.
Every great movement of God began as a dream or vision in the heart of a single person which, when shared with God and His people, began something irresistible. May it be so again with us.
November 3, 2002