This year, a colleague and I have been asked to lead an urban ministry study project for Mennonite Church USA. So far we have visited folks in Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles. It has been a privilege to listen to these leaders share about the joys and frustrations of urban ministry.
Last week I was at another one of these gatherings. As we were going around the circle sharing, one of the African pastors made the following statement, “We jump into mission! You North Americans need to process everything before you decide to jump”
It took a minute for me to comprehend what he was saying.
We do like to process. I have always thought of processing as a way to include everyone in the conversation. I still believe this to be true.
As I have reflected on this statement, it is also true that we sometimes use process as a stall tactic. If we talk about it, then we don’t actually have to do anything. When we don’t do anything, then we cannot be blamed for making a bad decision.
Our politicians are famous for doing this. Should this be something that the church is known for as well?
Sometimes it is more important to jump in and start working than to hold a committee meeting to decide if we should vote on whether or not to take action.
The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for everything. In that same spirit I would like to suggest that there is a time to process and a time to jump in.