Monday, May 29, 2006

The Church as an Airport?

Over the years I’ve heard pastors philosophically describe their churches as:

An Army ready for spiritual warfare or
A Hospital to heal and restore the wounded or
A School to train and equip the saints for ministry and as
A Family of close knit loving and caring relationships

I imagine that most churches have functioned in these roles at one time or another. At the Bridge we have had seasons where our focus was on each one and it’s all been good. However, I’d like to add an additional metaphor to this list, what about the church as an Airport?

It’s our custom to gather for a time of intercession before our Sunday morning service. I’ve discovered this to be a rich and fruitful time; God often speaks to me during these pre-service prayer times. As we gathered for prayer yesterday morning, I heard the Lord refer to us as an Airport, as an International Airport. With that initial thought a flood of revelation entered my mind.

An airport is a gathering place for aircrafts, flight crews and passengers. It’s a place of sending and receiving. It’s not a destination in and of it self but rather a connecting point, a hub, a temporary stop on the way to your destination, your destiny! After all, these people haven’t come to live in the airport. They’ve come to replenish, refuel and catch their connecting flight so they can fly again. Aircrafts were created to fly, not to be parked in hangers or grounded on the tarmac.

The operations manager of an airport doesn’t own the aircrafts or the flight crews or the passengers, he simply has temporary custodial responsibility for them while they are under his care. If he’s doing his job well, crafts, crews and passengers will transition seamlessly and without delay.

So, to play out this metaphor, if our church is an airport, then aircrafts are various types of ministries. Maybe some have the maneuverability characteristics of biplanes or others the capacity of jumbo jets or others still the power of an F-16.

Flight crews would represent leaders, co-leaders and attendants serving the needs of the passengers making sure that everyone reaches their destinations safely and on time.

As the pastor, if I’m the operations manager of this airport than I should rejoice when a flight lands safely AND when one takes off without a glitch. My goal is to see people reach their destinations. My goal isn’t to fill my hangers with grounded aircraft or my terminals with stranded passengers.

The church as an airport… hmm… I think it fits us well and it seems to suit my leadership style. I suspect more insights are yet to come.

Copyright © Tom Zawacki 2006

1 comment:

  1. I like this analogy, Tom. It is fun to explore the ways that it fits and also the ways the are different. For instance, here, at our airport it is a great thing and a goal to lose your baggage.