I love finish lines. A finish line means that your hard work has paid off. A finish line means that your training and sacrifice are over. No more pain! No more early morning workouts! Finish lines very visibly communicate that you’ve met your goal. I’m running in the Chicago Marathon this October, and – believe me – I’m already envisioning that finish line!
There is nothing wrong with a finish line, as long as you’re looking towards the right one! I still remember a half marathon that I ran years ago in Indianapolis. Just a few blocks from the finish line, the organizers had put up a huge banner congratulating the runners. The banner was meant to encourage us in the final quarter mile. The problem, though, was that a lot of runners thought that this banner was the finish line! Runners – who had seen this banner coming for blocks – were confused when they reached this spot (myself included). Our tired bodies slowed to an achy stop; we looked around for help: “Is this it?”
Honestly, that last quarter mile – once we realized that this wasn’t the finish line – was so difficult! To physically and mentally gear back up after thinking that we had reached our goal was almost impossible.
I’ve thought about this faux-finish line a few times as we’ve been gearing up for this building project. I’ve seen too many churches settle for faux-finish lines: buildings, programs, money. LifePoint, we have got to get this: this building is not our finish line. It is an important ministry tool in our toolbox – but it’s a means, not an end.
Our goal is to make disciples. What excites me about this building is that I really do think that the right space can help us live out our mission. We envision a space that facilitates the Jesus Mission: an environment that is open and welcoming to the lost (reach); ministry space that allows us to respond to the real needs of our community (restore); a place for teaching, leading, and multiplying disciples (reproduce).
I can hardly sleep some nights… thinking about how we can effectively use this tool (the building) to help us extend the mission of Jesus further into our community and lead people into a growing relationship with Him. But we can’t settle for faux-finish lines. Let’s name them for what they are… and resist all impulses to stop short of who God has called us to be.