Bill Wilson serves as Director of the Center for Healthy Churches. If the name sounds familiar, it should. He is the consultant who has been working with the RRCB Pastor Search Committee for a number of months, helping guide the process as the church seeks its next senior pastor. You may recall he has been onsite in Richmond on several occasions to guide town hall discussions with the congregation around this task.
In a recent article entitled “High Anxiety in the Church,” Dr. Wilson makes a strong case for local churches to pursue avenues that lower congregational anxiety. He offers three questions that a church must ask itself – and then answer honestly – if it is to keep anxiety in check. The questions themselves are simple, containing a mere eleven words. Answering these questions is decidedly not simple.
Who are you?
Why are you here?
Where are you going?
A church has a divine mandate, a reason for being. Does RRCB know who she is? What her divine mandate is? Knowing with clarity the answer to this question lowers anxiety in the church family about its identity, its values and its priorities.
Does RRCB know why she exists? Not being able to answer this question would surely lead to congregational anxiety. Remembering and discovering anew what a church’s unique role is in its global and local setting can help center that church’s efforts once again. We cannot be all things and do all things, but we can obey what God calls us to be and do, here and now.
Where is RRCB going? Obviously, there is no crystal ball to reveal the answer in detail; but a church can work toward a non-anxious presence by having a clearly thought out sense of direction and purpose. RRCB can and must determine its goals for the future.
Dr. Wilson cautions that a church which finds itself incapable of answering the three questions posed above is most likely anxious and suffering from “missional drift.” The best gift a local congregation can give itself and also offer to the world is to wrestle with answering these questions, thus setting it free to minister effectively in its God-given mission field.
These are not questions a church needs to ask itself one time, but many times. When the answers begin to come with clarity, the church will exhibit congregational health and will reflect divine purpose.