April 14, 1970. Apollo 13 was two days into its mission when an explosion caused the spacecraft to lose oxygen and electrical power. At that point, John L. Swigert, the command module pilot, uttered the now famous quote, “Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” Although the crew on that Apollo 13 flight were some of the most highly trained astronauts in the world, it didn’t take much skill or education to recognize the problem at hand. Thanks to a loud explosion, their dire straights were simple to recognize.
So it is today within corporate America. There has been a large “explosion.” Only this time it has gone virtually unnoticed! When it became clear to the Apollo 13 crew that there was a serious threat to their lives, they sprang into action. They quickly responded by working collaboratively and with purpose to achieve a clear objective: make it home alive! The same cannot be said for a large portion of American companies who have decided to ignore the explosion of employee disengagement. There is no response, no springing to action. Rather there is the status quo of employees remaining isolated in corporate silos, receiving emails from their supervisor’s mandating that they do more, better, faster, with less. How can it be that in the middle of national crisis, it’s so difficult to recognize our own dire straights?*
I would like to extend this analogy. Not only has corporate America “had a problem,” but American and Canadian culture in general has a problem and the Canadian church in specific has a problem. We are sitting in the midst of it, we have heard the explosive loss of oxygen and energy in the church but it has not rallied our churches to action. The average person in the church sits disengaged; unwilling or unable to respond to the dire straits of our situation. We keep waiting for things to "get back to normal." When "the trouble with normal is it always gets worse."^
As Darrell Guder has said.
This is a time for a dramatically new vision. The current predicament of churches in North America requires more than a mere tinkering with long-assumed notions about the identity and mission of the church. Instead, as many knowledgeable observers have noted, there is a need for reinventing or rediscovering the church in this new kind of world.#Let us pray that God will build His church and that the gates of hell shall not stand against it.
*Copyright © 2010 Christian Coaching. All rights reserved. http://www.christiancoachingmag.com
^The Trouble With Normal, 1983, words and music by Bruce Cockburn. Published by Golden Mountain Corp. (BMI)
#Darrell E. Guder, editor, Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America.