I remember back in college, the “chaplain” for our university chorale gave a devotional to our choir about choosing your rut carefully, referring to a rumored road sign on Alaskan Roads. The idea he was getting trying to share, was that we needed to be committed to chorale for the long haul.
If you can’t guess, our director did not like him referring to chorale as a rut. Consequently, he followed the devotional with a 15 minute rant on how chorale is more like a mountain top experience than a rut.
Needless to say, this devotional lives on in the bad devotional hall of fame for that chorale.
The thing with ruts is, you don’t always know where they’re going to lead you.
Sometimes they can lead you in a great direction.
Sometimes you know right away they’re taking you where you don’t want to go.
However, the most dangerous ruts are the ones that seem to be taking us in the right direction, but slowly over time turn us around and eventually take us backward.
This happens all the time in the church.
We come up with a new idea, that succeeds. So we do it again. Then again, and yes, again and again and…
What started out as a great idea, starts to take us backwards.
You might contest that doing the same thing over and over again isn’t necessarily going backwards, but aren’t we retracing our steps if nothing new is happening out of the same things we’re doing?
Haven’t you seen it? Someone 80 or 100 years ago decided we should have Sunday School. So, they did it. It was new and it worked. However, haven’t we all seen the results of just going to school and never going to work? We’ve seen churches full of professional students. The only difference between them and the professional students of the educational world is the lack of student loan debt.
We came up with a new idea because we wanted to reach more people for Christ. Don’t miss that. We wanted to do something new to reach more people for Christ. Our ruts don’t only affect us who are already called by His name. The lack of new could be the very thing that is lacking in reaching Gary and Mary. Perhaps there is that one new idea that connects perfectly with them, but we’re so stuck in the rut of what we did a generation ago that we don’t even think about what new ideas we might be missing.
So, my warning is this: Beware the rut.
Not just in your leadership, your church, family or business.
Beware the rut in your own life. The holding pattern you’ve been in will eventually circle around and take you backwards. The scary thing is you probably won’t even notice.
Looks for the ruts and change them.