Our church just celebrated its 75th anniversary. That’s a big deal to me, but maybe not for the reasons you suspect. What I love about my church (Mission Hills) is that we see all of God’s past faithfulness as a reminder of His future faithfulness. We see the past as a foundation for the future. And I’m so excited about the next 75 years!
As I think about the future, I find myself reflecting on the kinds of attitudes I want in the people around me. Here are three critical ones:
- We need to be people who focus on potential, not problems. Of course we have to identify important elements that have been missed in planning, things that could derail us as we move forward, but there’s a world of difference between identifying these obstacles so that they aren’t allowed to stifle the potential of a plan and fixating on all the ways that “this won’t work” or “this is a bad idea.”
- We need to be people who have a vision for what the future could be, not what the future shouldn’t be. Revolutionary vision isn’t achieved by elimination. The emancipation of African-American slaves wasn’t accomplished by people who just fixated on a future without slavery. It was accomplished by people who were fixated on a future in which all Americans were treated as equals. The difference is subtle but profound.
- We need to be people who know the difference between preference and conviction. It’s very easy to confuse the two, especially in an evangelical culture that tends to say that preferences are unspiritual. They’re not. There’s nothing wrong with having preferences. But call them what they are so that they can be kept in their proper place. There’s a big difference between preferring things one way and coming to a careful, biblical conviction that this is the way that things really must be if God is going to be honored.
(A recent post by Carey Nieuwhof helped to clarify a few of these for me, so I encourage you to read his article here.)