In my last post I addressed the issue, “Death in the Cul-De-Sac” based on a challenge in Gary Haugen’s book, Just Courage, to move out of the safety of our cul-de-sacs of comfort. While cul-de-sacs can be numerous, let me address three that I believe have far-reaching ramifications:
1. The Spiritual Cul-De-Sac – When people stop trusting God, they are thick in the middle of a spiritual cul-de-sac. It’s that place of comfort where people succumb to a faith deficit in God’s ability to do what He said He would do. Spiritual cul-de-sacs are much of the problem with the Western church. We fight for prosperity, success, and security and conveniently forget that following Christ is a faith journey that, as Jesus said, requires denying myself, taking up my cross, and following Him (Matthew 16:24).
2. The Leadership Cul-De-Sac – When a leader resists organizational change, stops dreaming bold dreams, and plays it safe with leadership decisions, he is trapped in a leadership cul-de-sac. The comfort and safety of the leader’s position combined with the past success of the organization work together to create a false sense of security for the future. In leadership cul-de-sacs, leaders play defense rather than offense, excuses become increasingly more acceptable, the growth of the organization plateaus or declines, and team members fight to maintain the status quo. You can see how it’s a dead-end street for the leader and the organization.
3. The Serving Cul-De-Sac – The problem with serving cul-de-sacs is that the people living in them only serve each other. That’s great for people inside the cul-de-sac but bad for those outside it. Many churches today are trapped in the serving cul-de-sac. They spend so much time meeting the needs (and wants) of each other that they never look, much less move, beyond their dead-end street to the sea of human need in the world around them. The serving cul-de-sac is one reason why the church has lost so much influence in society. It’s hard to serve people and shape culture if you don’t interact with them.
Are you confined to a spiritual, leadership, or serving cul-de-sac? What do you need to do to break out of it? Whatever it is, I can assure you it will be outside of your comfort zone, will feel risky, and will require faith. But God’s greatest activity, your deepest growth, the most profound miracles, and your most meaningful contribution will always be found outside of your cul-de-sacs of comfort.