I read the other day about an architectual firm that designed a college campus without sidewalks. The semester was started and the student’s paths were studied by the designers. They then planned out the sidewalks based on the natural flow of the students as they moved from class to class.
Of course the design firm received a lot of slack for it. People chided them for not finishing the project and then went one step further when the sidewalks were eventually installed and credited their complaints for getting the job done. Glory theives, that’s another post.
I don’t know if it was true or an urban legend. But I thought this was incredibly brilliant.
I get conflicted at times when I walk through hotels, campuses and plazas. Part of me says “stay on the sidewalk, don’t walk on the grass” and the other part of me is saying “it’s a shorter and easier this way.”
How does this apply to ministry?
If your going to make a sidewalk, make one to the Cross. Remove any obstacles that could get in the way to the Cross. Make it easy for those around you to get there. Make a direct path to the Cross. That is where the real transformation comes anyway.
In mentoring, get to know them before prescribing a certain path. Find out where their heart is and how they express their heart. Find out what moves them and why. So many times we have people new to the faith and we will spend so much time telling all the things they have to do we totally forget why do it in the first place.
You see, the Cross transforms them, they will begin to think differently, and walk differently. They will even flow differently. Watch them, listen to them and get to know them and be prepared for them to walk differently than you. You could be building sidewalks to no where.
Remember you could have a real trail blazer in your midst.
God could trust you enough to send you a real ground breaker. If you try to make them walk your path you could be hindering them from the path God wants for them. Trail blazers are difficult and will balk at the norm, the main stream, and the culture. Get used to it. Be ready to defend them, like Jesus they will not walk on the sidewalks of religion. And like Paul will be stoned for their outrageous ideas.