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Haran is not Canaan

Tony has a great post about the top 10 mistakes he's made. In the final mistake he references a passage from Genesis 10:31-32 which says that although Terah was headed to Canaan he stopped at a place called Haran. He lived there. He died there.

That verse is another example of why we took the steps necessary to flip this church upside down. If God gave us a preferred future for our city, it's our job to follow Him in every aspect of that vision. If we're not following Him and we stop short to find comfort in our present circumstance we are sure to die having not come close to what God called us. For us to make excuses or explain away failure I believe we'd simply be adding our names to the stories of men and women who fell short of God's preferred future for their lives.

Speaking with another Pastor yesterday I shared with him that one of the most heart-wrenching things I've seen in ministry are Pastors who change what a "win" looks like in order to feel like they've done well.

Most Evangelical Pastors start out believing that their task is to teach others to reach others. Their "win" in the early stages is seeing people come to Christ. I can't tell you though just how many Pastors I've noticed over the years who change their vocabulary to match their record. They move from talking about converts to talking about codifying Christians. They move from talking about seeing their city changed to seeing the pews changed. The goals are adjusted to fit the Pastor's level of success.

To me this is like training for the Boston marathon but calling the press to announce that you've made it around your block. I'm most certainly not saying that we will all see the results of our labor (Hebrews 11 tells us that). What I am saying is that we shouldn't ever allow ourselves to settle.

Can you imagine our boy Terah? For years he tells his family about Canaan. He casts vision for the milk and honey, the gigantic fruit and the majestic views. He finally builds up enough support among everyone to start on the long journey. Somewhere along the way (and for whatever reason) he stops the family in Haran. Maybe the journey was tough, maybe it was hot or maybe the family argued so much that they stopped in Haran to rest. Regardless of why, they stopped short. I just imagine what Terah talked about the rest of his life. I see him sitting in on the front porch with other old men of Haran as he gives them all of the excuses why he didn't go to Canaan.

With excuse after excuse his life slips away as he talks (in code) about all of the reasons he settled. I wonder how many Pastors are settling. For all of those church leaders who claim that God is "in" what they are presently doing... I wonder if its the same God that called them to reach their city for Christ or if this is the god of comfort and ego that has caused so many Pastors to tell stories about why they aren't where they and their churches need to be.

For us, this is the reason we did what we did. I'd rather go through the process of being humble enough to say "It wasn't working so we're re-training, re-tooling and re-starting." instead of spending my life sitting around figuring out ways to make a loss look like a win. I want to see the Promised Land.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, February 20, 2008


At 2:59 PM, Blogger Happy Mommy said...

Good for you Tally! I am proud to be your friend and sister in Christ! I look forward to seeing and hearing what God will be doing in your Ministry as you continue to follow him and not conform to what others might think you should do.


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