The name Peter Drucker may be familiar to you if you are a student of business or economics. To put it simply, his books made a big impact by the fresh way he looked at things. His writings include Managing for Results, The New Society and The Effective Executive. For over a generation he taught in the leading universities of America but his writings were well known in Europe and further afield.
He once wrote: “Progress is obtained only by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems. When you solve problems, all you do is guarantee a return to normalcy.” It is a statement worth pondering. Most of us spend most of our time solving problems, and in so doing, we think we are making progress. In actual fact, merely solving a problem only returns us to the status quo. The same is true of every human endeavour. We spend most of our time solving problems and wondering why we don’t make any progress.
It is no less true when we come into the church. The biggest part of our energy is spent solving problems, putting out fires and sticking our finger in the dyke to hold back the onrushing water. Problem-solving is important, even crucial, but it is not progress. Progress comes only when you exploit opportunities.
This month we will celebrate both Ascension Day (on a Thursday so often overlooked!) and Pentecost. This is when God started to do things differently. Christ’s return to glory, the gift of the Spirit and the birth of the Church would unleash a movement that turned the world upside down. Although its roots were in the past, and it drew from its rich heritage and history in the Old Testament, new ways of working had to be devised almost from day to day. It was not always an easy ride and there was no masterplan to follow. However, the early church had a clear vision of the way ahead. They knew what needed to be done and simply got on and tried to do it, building up experience and insight as they went. God raised key leaders and the people gladly followed.
May God help us to see the opportunities around us and to have the courage and the faith to seize the moment believing that God will be with us as we go forward in Christ’s name and in the Spirit’s strength and wisdom.
Rev Colin Sinclair, Interim Moderator