During a talk on the church and ministry, Dave Dunbar of Biblical Seminary (www.biblical.edu) spoke about a concept called “surfing on the edge of chaos. It was in part derived from a book of the same name (check it out here). Whatever the value of the book is, I love and fear the concept of surfing on the edge of chaos. You can’t plan out or predict the future, but you can prepare yourself and get ready to move once the wave comes.
I love the possibility that this type of thinking leaves a lot up to God and the leading of his Spirit. We wait for God to move, preparing ourselves for that moment. What frightens the dickens out of me is “what does it look like to prepare?” I think that sometimes we get so consumed in the preparation that we confuse it with the wave. We spend all of our time in the surf shop and never really hit the waves. And even if we brave the cold ocean waters, it strikes me as intimidating to try to figure our which wave I should take.
The line between too much planning and reckless abandon seems very gray. When have we planned and programmed so much that God and his Spirit are stifled? I think that is one of the most important questions that we can wrestle with today. I know that it is on the minds of many 20-somethings in ministry who are suspicious of modern church programs. How can we be faithful to the Spirit, while negotiating the organization that will be necessary and inevitable in ministry?