This also is true of non-geographical maps. There is no map for the future economy or for the future course of world affairs. Leonard Sweet also makes the point that this also is true for the life of the church. He quotes Jamie Potter-Miller: “Much of the church is stuck in the ’50s--and what isn’t, is stuck in the ’60s.” What works for one church in a particular community at a particular time may be an exercise in futility for another church in its particular community at its particular time. All churches, communities, individuals, and times are unique. The only constant is change. (“I bought the latest computer; it came completely loaded. It was guaranteed for ninety days, but in thirty was outmoded” --Bill Ihlenfeldt).
That is why Leonard Sweet entitled his book, Aquachurch; Essential Leadership Arts for Piloting Your Church in Today’s Fluid Culture. Sweet suggests that today’s churches should have Noah and Peter as their patron saints. The early church’s symbols were often aquatic: boats and fish. On land you can have landmarks to guide your path. On the open sea there are no landmarks. The modern church is at sea.
This is true of life in general. We can be informed and guided by the past and the maps of others, but ultimately there is no completely accurate map for the journey of your life. Your future is all unexplored territory. The future of our world is all unexplored territory.
The Bible itself does not give us a map. It contains some instructions and rules, but it makes it clear that these are insufficient in themselves. Rather than a map, the gospels offer us a relationship. Jesus says, “I am the way.” Thus the Christian life and the life of the church are dynamic, not static. To be alive here and now as individuals and as church is an adventure. I am pleased and excited to share this adventure with you. “Lead on, O King eternal.”
©2003 C. David Hess