Saturday, November 22, 2008

The wandering ambulance

Yesterday I was driving through town and an ambulance was coming at me with sirens blaring and lights aflashing. I pulled over to the side and they went on past. Just moments later I heard another siren and noticed it was the same ambulance, only this time they were coming from behind me. I pulled over again, and as they passed I could see that the driver appeared to not know where they were going. They finally turned down another road... in search of their person in need.

For whatever reason this immediately made me think of our church. For awhile now we have seemed to be in 'meandering mode.' You know, they say churches need to have a clear mission and vision and a concise purpose statement; a target audience they are trying to reach; and measurable goals... stuff like that. Well, we not only have "a" purpose/mission/vision statement... we have about fifty of them - none of which we really use. Our target is... anybody. Goals... um... to make it through the day, maybe.

I don't mean to diminish those churches who do take these things seriously. Obviously it works in gaining members and attenders and whatnot. They are like the ambulance service that gets a call from someone and right away they send the rescue unit to the exact location it needs to go and they give the needed help (usually).

But back to this meandering ambulance I saw yesterday. I'm sure someone was waiting for it. But I bet if they drove around long enough, they would find someone who needed help. In fact, I wonder how many times an ambulance races to its destination and passes others who might be in just as great a need as the person who called in?

Could there be a need for some meandering churches... People-groups who are just there for ...anyone. Whether a call for help had been made or not, they roam through life on the lookout for people in need - be it physical, emotional, relational, or spiritual. Sure, it's not as pretty; and probably not as effective in gathering a crowd... but is it worthwhile?

Maybe. I don't know.