April 15, 1912. Early that morning an event happened that caused the loss of over 1,500 lives and hundreds who survived were left to live with haunting memories. We’ve all heard the story and a lot of us have even seen the movie. The Titanic was an incredible ship, but never reached its destination and potential because of what was hidden beneath the water.
Icebergs are unique and there is no way to tell with the naked eye what lies beneath the water. What you see of an iceberg usually only represents about 10 percent of its total size because 90 percent of an iceberg is under water and isn’t seen. There is no way to know how wide or deep the iceberg is when looking at it, unless you get beneath the surface and find out what is really there. That’s where we get the term “tip of the iceberg” from, which is used to describe a problem or difficulty that is only a small portion of a larger problem.
So how are icebergs destroying missional churches?
I was recently talking with a pastor who told me that they were working toward their church being more missionally focused. This was a well-established large church that was beginning to see a need to become active outside the walls of their building. They had created a committee and were establishing goals, plans and reviewing programs that could be used to serve the hurting in their community.
While I applaud this effort, the goals, plans and programs are just the tip of the iceberg. They are what we see.
There is so much more to a church effectively engaging their community than what is written in a plan. It’s these larger things that lie beneath the surface that will destroy this effort.
There are four things that are hidden beneath the water that can kill your church’s vision to become a missionally focused church. The Great Commandment tells us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength…and love your neighbor as yourself.” The heart, soul, mind and strength; they are the 90 percent that are hidden beneath the water.
- Heart – This isn’t speaking of the muscle in your chest that pumps blood and keeps you alive. It means your center. It’s how you feel and think; it’s your values and worldview.
- Soul – The very breath of your being. The soul is the driving force of who you are. It’s your passion.
- Mind – The way of understanding, feeling and your desires. It’s the lens through which we process information.
- Strength – This is what you hold. The force in your body. Your specific abilities, your might and your power.
These four parts of our being are overlapping, but each holds a unique depth to their meaning that, although they overlap, make them different. These are the things that are beneath the surface.
Most of us want our church to be a reflection of what we see in the mirror. Contrary to what we say and convince ourselves to believe, we want to worship with people who look like us, think like us and dress like us. If you really wanted that to change, you would be experiencing it already.
To become a missional church, we must first bring our heart, soul, mind and strength under the Lordship of Christ. Until this happens, our goals, plans and programs will fail to come through and millions will be lost.
The church is an incredible ship with so much potential and an eternal destination, but until we figure out the first commandment, we cannot truly love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
This article originally appeared here.