I drive a lot; in the last year I put nearly 30,000 miles on my car. On most days driving is not fun, it is only a means to get from one destination to another – generally in the quickest, most efficient manner.
But not all driving is quite so utilitarian, there are those wonderful adventures called road trips. Now sure, a road trip is often in a car, but I have to say I love the ones that include a boat, train or plane, too. They are also a means getting from one destination to another. However, on a road trip the journey matters as much as the arrival at your destination.
There are plenty of things that we do in ministry that are like driving a car, filling out reports, maintaining properties, important tasks that need to be completed correctly and on time. But there are also those times where we get to take a road trip. On a road trip you have a plan, but it allows space for adventure. The time you’re traveling matters just as much as arriving at your destination.
I believe that too often we regard congregational strategic planning like a long, arduous rather than an adventurous road trip. We place all our emphasis on the final plan, rather than appreciating the process.
Years ago my husband Stephen and I took an amazing road trip in California. We traveled from the Grand Teton National Park to L.A. When we started this trip we could never imagine how life changing it would be. Time on the road, each stop and every detour shaped a lifetime of memories.
In GNJ we offer Team Vital as a primary resource to engage local congregations in strategic planning. In the past few months we have refreshed our process to more fully embrace the “road trip” towards vitality. We would like to invite you on this Vitality Road Trip.
- Expedition: While driving can lead you to a wide variety of places, an expedition takes you to new and different places. When we headed out to California we thought we knew our agenda, but as we began to travel we realized this was an adventure not just a vacation. Team Vital is a journey that has been designed to inspire your congregation to reimagine its unique call for making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This is not just a program, but an expedition.
- Exploration: When planning for our trip, Stephen and I had lots of different ideas about our itinerary. His visions of great hikes and camping in Yellowstone Park did not match my less adventurous agenda. However, each of us was willing to consider the other’s desires as well as our skills and talents to create meaningful experiences. The journey to vitality will begin with discerning the assets and strengths God has given your congregation. What are your gifts and specialties? Leverage what makes your congregation unique and build from that.
- Excursion: Hiking to the great sequoia forest, touring Napa Valley, discovering little picturesque towns, picnicking in Golden Gate Park and list goes on; the time spent outside the car was incredible. Team Vital will set you out to experience first-hand the neighborhood surrounding your church. Step out of your comfort zone and into relationship with your community.
- Navigate: Back then we were armed with a folder full of brochures and a few paper maps. When we stopped to eat we would talk to the locals and get a better idea of where to go. Team Vital will provide tools and resources for vitality. As a congregation, you will gather spiritual leaders into a team who will be the catalyst to move your congregation towards its God-given mission. Along the road, facilitators will help guide your way.
- Discover: For Stephen and I, that road trip has in so many ways been a foundational part of our lives. It offered us time, place and freedom to know more about ourselves, and each other. Long hours of driving offered us time to talk (sometimes debate) and dream and envision our future together. Team Vital offers your congregation the time, space and resources to discover your God-driven future.
Are you looking for your unforgettable adventure? Hoping to take hold of all that God can do through you by becoming a vibrant presence in your community? I invite you to take to the road with other congregations throughout GNJ with Team Vital.
Team Vital registration is open. Click here to register. Deadline to apply is Aug. 31, 2018