When a professional golfer wants to work on his game he hires a swing coach. This guy’s function is to break down every minute detail of the way the player swings his club from the moment he steps up to the ball until it is flying down the fairway. He finds and corrects the tiniest flaws that effect direction and distance in the drive. Even though the Point of the game is to get the ball in the hole, the coach is not an expert on the hole, but an expert on the swing. He studies and corrects the Process. Even though I am acutely aware of the vision – put the ball in the hole – when I play golf I am horribly unsuccessful because of the flaws in my swing. Process is important. On the other hand, I may have the most wonderful swing in the world, sending the ball flying over the length of three football fields. But if I don’t know the purpose – get the ball in the hole – I am only a champion on the driving range. In order to succeed we need Process and Purpose.
A while back I was in a church just watching the flow and cogitating. Just before the service started, a lady came through the door alone. She was nicely dressed and had a pleasant demeanor. As she entered, a very cheerful greeter handed her a bulletin, nodding politely. She took a few steps into the sanctuary glancing about as if she were looking for someone. It was apparent she was unfamiliar with her surroundings. An usher smiled and waved expansively toward a section with several empty seats. After looking around the room one last time, she took a seat at the end of the row furthest from the pulpit. She sat through the service alone. After the last “Amen,” she stood slowly, looked around one last time, and quietly left. Every person along her path did their job. The Parking Lot parked, the Greeter greeted, the Usher ushed, the Preacher preached. The Process was good. The Point was missed. The Good Shepherd sent a sheep to the sheepfold. She got a bulletin and a smile. She got the information the church thought was important. We don’t know what information she actually needed. She got a seat, but she never found her seat. Who was she looking for? What are her preferences and needs for visual access, auditory considerations, or whatever. Process is a wonderful thing. She heard what the preacher had to say, but did we ever discover why God sent her to us that day? Process without the Point is an exercise in robotics, not the loving hand of God extended.
Scripture Reading: So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.
(1 Corinthians 9:26 NLT)
Somebody Said: Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.
John F. Kennedy
What we do, we only do well when we do it with the purpose in mind. It allows us to make intelligent variation in the process to achieve the desired end. In church, our purpose is to love God, love people, and facilitate the connection of the two.