When will we get there?

As a father to six young, energetic kids, I hear this question (and about eight hundred variations of the same) quite often. I remember one morning pulling out of our driveway to begin a road journey to Texas, and one of the kids blurting out something about wishing we were there already.

Yeah, hold that thought Son. All you have to do is watch movies, count cows, and eat snacks. I have to stare at the road for the next twenty hours!  

Is it possible to get caught up in an “are we there yet” attitude about church as well? “There” might be defined differently by different people, of course, but whenever good things take good time, we start to wonder.

  • “There” might be when we get all our ducks in a row organizationally.
  • “There” might be when the staff team is all settled and good to go.
  • “There” might be when we sense God’s presence and power in a supernatural way.
  • “There” might be when we reach every household in our community.
  • “There” might be when we launch a major new international mission effort.
  • “There” might be when we start a domino chain reaction for good.
  • “There” might be when Jesus finally returns!
  • Or, if you are a more concrete thinker, “there” might be when the new sanctuary is finally move-in ready.  🙂

I’d like to encourage you today – we’re getting there.

I don’t know what the future holds for Berrien Center Bible Church, but I do know that if we stay focused on God's mission and vision for our lives, we’ll get to exactly the place He wants us to go. That’s why we spent so much time focusing on “The Big Picture" a few weeks back. We really want to be on the same page together about what God ultimately desires, and then say “yes” to His plan. That’s also why we’ve outlined a vision of the type of church we can be (by God’s grace): healthy, growing, and full of love (Ephesians 4:16). And, that's why we’ve discussed the challenge to “love one more," and now why we’re now diving headlong into the Great Commission.

During our first Mission Conference Sunday, we heard from five different speakers, each challenging us to expand our horizons and see “what in our world Jesus is doing.” From flying a Cessna in the Amazon to hiking with children along the trails at Five Pines camp, from ministering to immigrant populations to conducting life-saving surgery in the heart of Africa, we see “dominoes” falling across the globe as a partial result of the generosity of the BCBC family. But the implied challenge is not just about praying for and supporting those who have gone out, but to ask, “Lord, what would you have me do? Where is ‘there’ for me and my family?”

Things become clearer the moment we realize that we’ll never get “there” by waiting for others, by hoping our leaders do this-or-that, by perfecting our in-church experiences, or even by intense Bible study. We only get “there” when we give an unqualified “yes” to our Heavenly Father and start walking in obedient faith.

Byron Paulus of Life Action Ministries concluded our morning by raising expectations of what Jesus can do, in us and through us, as we obey His call. In relating the story of Peter's miraculous catch of fish (Luke 5), Byron helped us see that the real effectiveness of our lives isn’t about our skills, abilities, equipment or expertise. Rather, our effectiveness (our own miraculous catch of fish) is all about our humble, surrendered, personal response to whatever crazy-amazing thing Jesus tells us to do.

That’s how we’ll get “there.”

And don’t worry, the ride is going to be fun.

Dan Jarvis
Interim Teaching Pastor