150 years ago, merchant shipping went through a transition from sail to steam power. In the 1880s, the Brooklyn Bridge was constructed. When completed, the span of the bridge across the East River was too low to allow for the passage of tall-masted sailing vessels. At the completion of the bridge, ships with tall masts that remained at the dock during construction were trapped within the harbor. Only steamships without sailing masts were able to enter or leave the harbor, a harbor whose commerce was created by the very sailing ships now restricted from passage under the overhanging bridge structure.
The captains of the sailing vessels that found themselves trapped in the harbor had a decision to make. Would they remain trapped or choose another way? As a result, masts were cut down and vessels that once moved under the power of sail were refitted to become steam-driven vessels.
Every individual, ministry, or business has a vessel that carries its mission. At certain points in history, we can find our vessel trapped in what we thought would always be a place where we could come and go as usual. Time and developing circumstances require change. The coming year will present us with some challenging choices if our respective mission vessels are to continue moving. Masts of the past we assumed would remain forever will have to come down if we are going to make passage out of this current harbor and into the future.
New ways to translate the power of God will be made known to those willing to hear. That revelation will be similar to the captains of sailing vessels in the late 1800s choosing to become captains of steam vessels. If a captain is unwilling to make that transition, they will be forced to remain on the dock telling stories of the past unable to imagine a future where God would use new and unimagined ways to propel His mission under the power of the Spirit.