Excerpt from Chapter 6: Step 2: Mission

The heart of a big mouseA really big mouse has a really big heart. In fact, its heartbeat is so strong and so compelling its rhythm captivates everyone who hears it. It’s not quite an enchantment, but when church leaders fall under the spell of a big mouse’s heartbeat they begin to act and make decisions with one heartbeat and with one mind.

“Let’s try a different question. If you asked your congregation members one-by-one why the church exists, or what its purpose is, what do you think they’d say?”

Pastor Clark chortled. Literally. “We tried that a month ago, remember? I think I’ve got the results in a desk drawer here somewhere if you want me to pull them out. But the list was long and diverse. I’m pretty sure almost everyone thinks it’s something different. And if I remember correctly, that’s the main reason you’re here!”

Whenever two or more gather together and each has a different desire, the results tend to be that no one goes anywhere and little gets accomplished. Everyone has their own pet mouse, their own “good idea,” and wants the whole group to help them pursue it. The only way the group will get anywhere is if they find a really big mouse or if someone has a really big mouth.

“When an organization has a murky mission, its decision-making and direction-setting is fixed by whoever makes the most noise. It’s the same in the church. In the absence of a big mouse, whoever has the biggest mouth, makes the most noise, and creates the most waves will set the direction of the church because his or her mouse will be the one that others follow by default. A missional vacuum will always find a way to be filled. The question is, who … or what … is going to fill it.

“The heart of a really big mouse is a captivating mission so powerful that when it starts beating there’s no need to drown out any big mouths in the room. Instead, the beat itself is so irresistible that the heart of every committed church cat begins to skip in time with the big mouse’s heart. And when those heartbeats sync-up, they no longer have any interest in listening to the distracting noise of their pet mice nor of the rats who will inevitably demand they get their own way.”

“So where do I find a mission … a purpose … big enough to herd all our cats?”