Remember the phrase, “Sunday driver”? I think it comes from the days when the automobile was still a novelty, and people would take their car out for a Sunday drive. In no hurry, Sunday drivers might mosey along oblivious to posted speed limits or the line of frustrated drivers behind them. I think I came along too late to know that era when simply having a vehicle was sufficient to pass for family entertainment.
Today, with gas prices what they are and our constantly revolving schedules, who has the inclination for a Sunday drive? It may just be me, but if I’m going to drive I want a destination. If I’m in the vehicle I want to get somewhere.
I suppose I could be talked into a Sunday drive if it were just Becky and I – but I’d only do so because it is “romantic” – and our purpose would be to find a romantic spot for a soda or picnic.
It is about purpose. I want the things I do to have meaning, to be leading to something, and something good. Don’t you?
The same applies to the life of the church. Do you ever get the sense that attending church can be more like a Sunday drive than moving to a destination? I have. It might actually be enjoyable for a while, but it loses the novelty pretty quickly for me. And if you’re not sitting in the front seat, it is truly a bore.
This is one reason churches see young people, young adults and young families drift away to other pursuits – they get tired of riding around in the back seat going nowhere. We can entertain them for a time, but they can’t even whine, “Are we there yet?” because we have no “there” to get to. There’s no clear destination, no purpose for the trip. It’s just, “Put on your seatbelt and sing along.” And then one day they figure out they can unclick the belt and open the door.
This is why we are shaping up a purpose for Bethany Church. It’s not enough to just get together for a Sunday drive – we need a purpose, a destination. As followers of Jesus, we’ve been given a mandate to “Go and Make Disciples of All Nations”, baptizing and teaching them to follow Christ (Mt. 28:18-20). The Apostle Paul put it another way when he said, “As God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory” (2 Cor.4:15). Our purpose is to make disciples, and to do that, we need to make Christ Jesus known and help people respond to God’s invitation to know him.
For Bethany, we say it like this: “Our purpose is to make Christ Jesus known in our communities and beyond.” That word “known” is deep – for us it means everything from an introduction to a life-transforming commitment to follow Christ, baptized and empowered by the Holy Spirit to take the Christ-life seriously.
I’m losing my interest in aimless Sunday drives, aren’t you? If we’re not going somewhere, why bother?
In upcoming blogs I’ll talk about Mission and Vision as well. For now I encourage you to think about our destination, our purpose. Where are we driving? Why? And how will we get there?
Brian Wiebe-Lead Pastor