There’s a fun youth group game that involves two teams, two individuals, and some of those foam pool noodles. Usually in a big room, the two individuals represent their teams, wear a blindfold, and try to hit their opponent with the pool noodle. To complicate matters, they start off in different places in the room, and they first have to find their pool noodle. Only then can they seek out their opponent and strike them for the win. All of this is done blindfolded and with each team shouting directions to their representative.
As you can imagine, it’s an experience of chaos, humor, and sometimes tragedy as these individuals grope for victory. They collide with one another, walk into walls, or get within inches of finding their opponent, but never close enough.
The game is supposed to help students learn the importance of teamwork and helping one another life is crazy. I think there’s even more to this game, though.
This crazy game demonstrates what life is like when we don’t have a vision – a sense of where we are and where we need to go. We are forced to rely upon other information. This task can prove to be challenging, but not insurmountable. It requires exceptional skill, focus, and reflexes. But not only is this game crazy because the player is blindfolded. It’s even more chaotic because there is another blindfolded player at the same time. Not only is the player impaired, but the game environment is completely unpredictable.
The environment in which the church exists today is similar to the environment of this game: unpredictable, filled with noise and people clamoring for attention with competing values. A church without vision functions much like the flailing teenager, groping for their pool noodle.
Starting on the 15th, we’ll begin a seven-week sermon series based on our church’s mission and vision statements. Our church adopted the mission statement “To know Christ and make him known” in 2008, while our vision statement is now in its third iteration since that time. The mission of the church shouldn’t ever change. There will never be a time when First Presbyterian Church, Fort Dodge stops seeking to know Christ and make him known as a central part of its mission. That isn’t contextual.
However, the vision is contextual. It is based on an understanding of where we are and where we are going. So in the next seven weeks, we’ll start with our mission and vision statements as a whole, and then for six weeks we’ll look at specific ways we seek to live out this mission and vision within our particular context.
I invite you to join with us for these next seven weeks as we explore what we believe God is calling us to discover as a church in these coming months and years.
Austin D. Hill