When a blizzard struck last week and people in the path of the storm lost power, a concerning development took place. The windmill turbines that were supposed to supply a portion of the energy grid froze and became immovable. When the windmills shut down, and other factors in the current energy policy failed, it left people in jeopardy of freezing to death.
Ideas that seem in concept to work do not always come through when needed. A windmill sounds like a good idea on paper. In real-life, their huge spinning blades kill thousands of birds, leak oil, destroy the natural scenery and cost millions to build and maintain…and they freeze up in cold weather.
The windmills remind me of a survival concept. It is a question asked by those who teach people how to survive the dangerous challenges of life. What is the bottom line? A bottom line is what is required to sustain life – emotional, spiritual, and physical life. We have to ask this question in times of plenty because when a moment of life-threatening lack appears we will not be prepared to face the challenge.
In the United States, we are beginning to rethink the ideas that sound great on paper but don’t always work out in real life when you need them the most. This is not an isolated consideration relating only to our national power grid and windmills. It is something those who lead in any capacity are being forced to consider.
The COVID-19 shutdown has frozen some of our ministry windmills. Financial and relational assets used to create, supply, and sustain a traditional ministry model have been drastically altered. We no longer are free to gather like we did before the culture was frozen in fear and isolation. There is no end in sight to these restrictions. People are beginning to discover new and alternative ways to fellowship. Old funding models have eroded. Staffing a ministry team supported by a budget that was available when the doors were open is no longer a reliable budget consideration. Churches are having to make tough choices. I pray for pastors and leaders of denominations because they are facing some tough choices.
I sense an exploration to discover a bottom line in all things is taking place. All spheres of cultural influence are on a new and unfamiliar journey toward their bottom line. This journey of discovery is not typically embarked upon when life is moving along without a painful challenge in the way. When a difficult season of life arrives it requires that we dig through our assumptions to discover our true bottom line. This is a simple place where life can be sustained no matter what comes our way. When we finally discover that bottom line, we will have discovered the summit of our mission.