In my first author’s video, I mentioned a four-year period of time, from 1996 to 2000, in which I was given insight into three tools for the church of tomorrow—a clock, a key, and a net. I mentioned that these tools address the subjects of time, language, and organization. The tools are embedded in the words of Scripture, but we need a different lens in order to discover them.
Hence, I write today for the church of tomorrow, but as I write about a clock, a key, and a net, I’m fully aware of the fact that church leaders are not asking for these tools—at least not by name. However, Christians are searching for the wisdom that these three tools can provide. I believe in the notion that
God gives us what we need before we know that we need it
In many cases God gives us what we need before we even know how to ask for it! Over the past decade I’ve read many books and thousands of articles, blogs, posts, and tweets that have been published by church leaders. From a big-picture perspective, this is what I hear:
On the subject of organization, the church is presently stymied. Nearly all church leaders wonder how we might be organized more effectively in order to have a greater healing presence within our communities. Christians want to carry the Christ light from the church building to the geographic areas beyond the building. How must we organize in order to accomplish this?
On the subject of language, Christians are bitterly divided. We can’t seem to agree on anything. If we are honest, our efforts to explain our belief in God, Jesus, and Spirit has only splintered the faith into bits and pieces. Presently the body of Christ projects division because we cannot speak with a pure lip or stand shoulder to shoulder in one accord. We desperately need a common spiritual language.
On the subject of time, the church is also deeply divided. Some leaders claim that the end is near! Others question, “The end of what?” Some leaders have asked, “Is Jesus ever coming back? If so, what exactly are we looking for in a second coming? When do we expect it?” The first disciples imagined the second coming in their own lifetimes. But that didn’t happen and it’s 2,000 years later. In other words, “How long, Lord . . . how long?”
So, in our feeble ways, we are asking God for a greater degree of illumination in the subjects of time, language, and organization. The church is in fact searching for a clock, a key, and a net—not by name—but by the intended purpose of each of the three tools. However, our requests come from a guttural level of communication where the silent, undefined groans of the human spirit are often expressed in restlessness, discontentment, frustration, and outright anger. This inner language of the heart is the language that God most readily hears when human words fail us.
We may not be expecting to receive a clock, a key, or a net, but we will not be able to resist their power to inform the human spirit. We will be drawn to the illumination that each of the tools provide. If you believe that the church could benefit from an increase in spiritual illumination, then I invite you to share this blog and video as we seek to create a healthy church of tomorrow.
Thoughts along the way,
Carol Wimmer is the author of the acclaimed poem When I say I am a Christian, and three books entitled: The Net—An Organizational Vision for the Church of Tomorrow; The Clock—A Timekeeping Tool for the Church of Tomorrow; and The Key—A Spiritual Language for the Church of Tomorrow