When I was in high school, a friend of mine was gifted a fully-restored 1965 Mustang GT coupe as his first car. It was beatiful. Bright red. Bullit rims. Working ORIGINAL A/C. From the moment I rode it in, I wanted one.
It took many years, but in 2000 I purchased my very own (and VERY used) 1968 Mustang on Ebay. It ran, but it needed engine work, body work, tires, rims, and interior restoration.
I’ll go ahead and say it: “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
I knew that it would require work. Over the years, I worked on the wiring and the fuel lines. I replaced the engine, the suspension, and the rims/tires.
This is the point where i would love to show you – with pride – a picture of my beloved restored 1968 Mustang GT.
But I cannot. The work was done sporadically. Other responsibilites required my time and attention (and money). Most of the time, the car sat in the driveway rusting in the rain and fading in the sunlight. Eventually, the great idea became more of a headache (and an eyesore for my neighbors). The longer it sat, the more work it needed.
My idea needed the one thing I could not give it: Momentum.
Last year, I threw in the towel and sold the car to someone who actually had the time, energy, money, and sheer know-how of restoring a classic car.
My “great idea” now sits in someone else’s garage.
(CORRECTION: It doesn’t “sit.” It now looks and runs beautifully).
Many great ideas are like that, aren’t they? We can get an idea – a dream, a vision – and we imagine that idea – POOF! – becoming reality.
What we often do not understand is that there is no such thing as a great idea.
This unfotunate truth is what trips us up. This is where frustration sets in for many of us. The days, months, or years pass by and yet nothing has changed. Our idea has not come to fruition.
We have not moved from “idea” to “action.” We have not taken the steps – or the right steps – to make it happen.
If an idea – even a great one – is not brought to life with intentional steps and momentum, it is doomed to remain merely an idea.
A pipe dream. A unrealized vision. An unreached goal.
For several years, it has been on my heart to plant a church. Unlike my Mustang, this idea is not merely a dream. Rather it is a calling I feel I must answer if I am to be obedient to God.
But like my Mustang, I’ve encountered obstacles and setbacks that would keep the vision God has given me in the “idea” phase and not brought to fruition.
There have been obstacles. I’ve faced rumor and accusations from unexpected sources. I’ve been told I didn’t have the personality for it. I have had potential leaders and core team members come and go. I’ve seen hesitation from friends who have a lot to risk as we move forward.
But the biggest obstacle has been ME. In facing these other obstacles, I found myself retreating from my calling. I almost got to the point of becoming content to hold a Bible study at my house in Decatur, Alabama and call it “church.” Okay, that may be oversimplifying it, because we have never strayed from our intent. But “in-home Bible study” is closer to the truth than saying something grand like “God’s doing great things in us and through us.”
Even worse, this season had become comfortable. It’s been low-stress. It’s been easy. Too easy. I could’ve gone on like this for years to come.
The problem is, there is nothing that nags at your soul more than an unrealized idea – especially if that idea is a calling from God. A calling demands a response.
God does not call us to come up with great ideas. He calls us to great obedience.
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
– James 2:14-17
It is one thing to have a calling – an idea to follow God wherever He leads; it is another to actually follow Him.
So for me, the time of developing the Great Idea is over. It is time to act.
These are more than empty words. To turn the idea into action, my team and I have taken the following steps:
- We have added members to our team with personalites that offset our own weaknesses. We have dreamers and go-getters. As a team, we can work together to do more than we can as individuals.
- After a great deal of prayer, we have made the HUGE decision to relocate our efforts from Decatur, Alabama to nearby Madison, Alabama. That location has been on our hearts for some time, and God has already opened doors into that community that we simply cannot ignore.
- The decision to move to Madison has spurred us to take other actions. We have already begun shifting our Sunday meetings to Madison. We are now in the process of preparing to move our residence from Decatur into the Madison area. We are exploring opportunities to serve in and engage that community.
- We have finished our website and are ready to “go public” with our intentions. You can check it out by clicking The Journey Church Project.
Just these simple steps have begun re-igniting our spark and desire to serve God and to make a difference. We are already connecting with people and developing new friendships. Yes, it feels risky. Yes, there are things we still fear and obstacles we will have to face. But if there is one thing we have learned as we turn an idea into action it is this:
If faith without works is dead, then faith turned into action is very much alive!
So here we go!