As a coach to pastors and Christian influencers, I’m sometimes surprised at the vacillating commitment of we who claim to be Christ’s.  I completely understand that life gets tough … so much so that, at times, I want to tear the hair from my head.

What I struggle to appreciate is the apparent over-arching power of the option to collapse on one’s vision and thereby escape the tension of living between what is and what God’s called us to.

Last week, Annie and I were with friends on a Segway Tour in Florence, Italy. I’m a curmudgeon when it comes to museums, tours, and lectures about things that occurred centuries ago. I’m much like Charlie Brown: “Bla, bla, bla… gelato!!… bla, bla, bla”.

But, as our guide was describing “the Duomo”, an incredible domed cathedral, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, I lit up.

An architect named di Cambio, designed it in the 1200’s with a massive eight-sided dome, and convinced the city council to build it.

Trouble is, nowhere on earth did the technology exist to build that dome!  So, construction began on the immense cathedral in 1296… and when they got to the dome … they could not go forward.

For the next 120 years, eight architects worked the problem without success.

Think about it.

120 years.

Six generations coming and going without a dome atop the greatest cathedral in Tuscany.

How many of us sustain our commitment for 120 months, 120 weeks, 120 days?

  • Your first marriage?
  • Your relationship with an angry, distant teen?
  • An initiative to reach your neighborhood for Christ? 
  • Turning your congregation from entitled religious consumers to maturing ministers of the goodness of God?
  • Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with an embattled pastor whose desire is to bring the congregation into Christ-likeness?

I’ve watched many Christian pastors begin well, then collapse when confronted by opposition.

Usually their undoing is the resistance of church members activated by elevated anxiety. Anxiety because they’re so unaccustomed to trusting Christ in the midst of difficulty. Or, because when given the opportunity to live distinctly Christian lives they’re so out of practice they’d rather do anything else.

Watching these leaders succumb could break my heart, if I let it.

But then, I would’ve collapsed on the vision God’s given me. That vision is to strengthen the character of Christian leaders so that the churches they influence live courageously for the Kingdom of God.

Next time, we’ll return to the story of the Duomo and the commitment to a vision that took more than a century to apprehend.

Stay with me.

 

Coaching distinctions #39.doc