Determining the ideal world

Recently I was having lunch with a good friend. During one of our conversations, I began to explain some dreams I have about what the church could look like someday. Before I got too far, he said, Yea, the problem is… practically I don’t know how that could ever work.”

Now, practicality is a great thing. ‘Head in the cloud’ conversations have the potential to really annoy me if they last too long. While this is true, I also think we need to be wise about where practicality fits. Here’s why:

Failure to identify the ideal world results in mediocrity and obscurity in the real world.

If you are going to lead a church that has a clear vision on how to best make disciples, you have to take time to think ideally before you think practically.

  • Thinking ideally says: “Here’s what this would look like in a perfect world.”
  • Thinking practically says: “In light of what we would do in a perfect world, here’s what we’ll do in the real world.”

If you don’t take the time to imagine what everything would look like in a perfect world, you’re not going to be clear on where you’re going in the real world. If I don’t know what all my structures would be like if everything were perfect, how can I begin to make strategies and structures that are as close to perfect as possible?

You can’t evaluate something when perfection hasn’t been defined.

In order to pursue excellence and clarity, you have to determine the ideal world before you plan the real world. Don’t discredit the ideal world just because it isn’t very practical. It’s not supposed to be. It’s a different step in the process.

So, in a perfect world, what would your ministry look like? If you don’t know, chances are good that you’re not very close to it.


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