We wanted a church that everyone owned—owned the mission, the money, the buildings, and the goals. We wanted a church in which everyone mattered, from the long-time stakeholder to the person just in off the street. We wanted a church where we could practice listening to God and fulfilling our sense of purpose, as individuals and as a body. So we decided to make a map.
Where we are and where we want to go.
A map is an image of where we are and, if it’s big enough, where we want to go. I once drove across the country before we had smartphones (#eldermillenial). The map I bought special for the trip was spiral bound and ordered for supposed ease of traveling regionally. The idea was that when you drove off the edge of the map on a major interstate you would just turn the page and find your new location. The edges of the map had little blue arrows and a little blue lettering saying on what page the map continued. For whatever reason, it seemed like my route never corresponded to the next page. I was constantly frustrated with this supposed feature of the map. “Why aren’t the states in %$*#ing alphabetical order!!!” I yelled several times, while ripping through the pages and loosing them from their spiral binding two or three tiny holes at a time.
In Circle of Hope, we are making a map that is big enough not to frustrate the most hopelessly lost drivers, and simple enough for everyone to know where we’re going together. We set goals that speak to our passions and the needs of our region; what God is saying to us and what our gifts are.
The map is a demonstration of our mutuality.
It might be worth it to make a map every year just for the process of making it. We have an extensive process of listening and dialogue during which we take great pains to include everyone. And I mean everyone! If we get to the final product of the map and find out that people don’t care, we didn’t do it right.
Fortunately we have A LOT of people who care! And caring is hard! I’m so grateful to be in the process again. It fills me up. We are currently dreaming and planning for what we will do in 2019-2020 and beyond. It’s Pentecost season so it’s exactly the right time to be listening to the Holy Spirit. If you are interested in what the finished product looks like you can check out circleofhope.net/compass to see our current map goals and the progress we have made on them. If you want to get connected to a people on the move with God, check out a cell or a Sunday meeting.