-Rev Melissa Fain-
"You're lost," she says.
"I'm not lost! I know exactly where I'm going," he replies.
"Oh really? Where are we then?"
"We should ask for directions."
It's a classic pre-GPS story. Guy get's lost, and girl calls him out on it. It always involves stopping and asking for help. If you know this tale you know how it continues. The assumption is made that it's either her fault for not reading the map correctly, or he'll eventually figure it out if they only drive a little further. Inevitably it always ends with the guy admitting they're lost and going into a gas station to ask how to get to that preferred destination.
What is it about our nature that keeps us from admitting defeat while on a journey? It can't be our Candy Crush, constant action oriented lives. The fast paced commercials, explosive games and fidget spinners came long after our desire to keep from admitting failure. It's ingrained in us. It must have started a millennia ago when failure meant the wolf or lion dined on your flayed rib cage. Back then the stakes were much higher than they were when an aggravated driver had to admit there was a need to stop and ask for help.
This primal instinct might explain individual distress of admitting failure on a journey, but what about a church? Churches spend big bucks to create a vision plan. Right now, they are a dime a dozen. Wanna' fix the church? Follow our 5 easy steps for only $5,000! At the end of the journey, you will have a completely rebuilt church! For those it works for, it really works. The money is well spent, and at the end of the journey these churches have a new beginning. But, for the churches it doesn't work for it seems they don't want to admit they need something that is just right there within reach.
They need to stop and ask for directions. It sounds so simple, I know. It's actually the first step in most guides when one is lost. Here is the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) version:
Sit: Or in other words: stop!
Think: What tools and abilities do you already have?
Observe: Take in your current situation. What do you need to deal with as soon as possible?
Plan: How are you going to get out of the mess you are in? Do you need to build a shelter to survive the night?
Every group or person can get lost. Our ability to survive being lost often requires our ability to stop.
The first step to stopping is admitting we are actually lost. It means accepting the fact that we are not following God's path anymore. God wants us to admit error, not so we can suffer God's divine red pen, but so we find the right path again.
It's so easy... but yet so hard.