Posted by: ritagone | July 11, 2012

A Fork in the Road


What do you do when things in your life aren’t working well, and you either have to change them or continue doing them badly?

For most people you would think this is a no-brainer.

You change them.

You do whatever it takes to make change happen, and you change whatever it is that isn’t working.  You lose weight, you get that college degree, you apply for that new job, you get out of that bad friendship and vow that you’ll do a better job next time when you go to pick someone to hang out with.

Whatever it takes.

Because the decision to not change, to stay the same, to stagnate, to vegetate, to maintain the status quo, sometimes takes such a heavy toll that it’s just not worth it, not worth the balance required to hang there in limbo.

Organizations – businesses, churches, ministries  – all face quite often the same dilemma, the same crossroads.  RIMM (Research in Motion) for example, the company which makes the Blackberry, a few years ago was sailing high.  If you looked around you, everyone in business and many personally communicated on their Blackberry devices.  Apple was just beginning to put out its iPhone, and people laughed when some predicted that within a few years that device was going to overtake the Blackberry as the phone of choice for both business and personal use.  Today, RIMM is all but bankrupt, its stock tumbling to $7 + a share (as of yesterday’s market close) while Apple’s stock has hit $600 + per share and the iPhone – along with every product made by Apple — is ubiquitous, part of our cultural landscape.

Churches come and go also.  The Crystal Cathedral in Orange County, California, was so mismanaged and abused as an institution – forget the spiritual implications for a minute and think of it mainly as a functioning organizational entity right now – that, after being built in 1981 at a cost of $18 million, by 2010 the debt was $55 million, according to a board member.  And in November of 2011 the Catholic Diocese of Orange County purchased the church building for $57.5 million amidst much embarrassment and shame and the kind of family infighting amongst the Schullers that rivalled the 15th and 16th century Borgias.

And so it goes with ministries also.  Check into the history books of a hundred years ago, and there will be ministries serving the Lord that are no more.  Perhaps they just faded into the sunset, as the saying goes, or perhaps they merged with other ministries to form stronger unions, or maybe everyone just got tired, turned out the lights and went home.

Like people, churches and ministries and businesses have lifespans.  When it’s time for them to call it a day, they need to listen carefully to God’s voice, because no one wants to live or exist a minute past the time allotted by the Creator.  Look at Hezekiah in the Old Testament, and you’ll see that the 15 years he begged for to extend his life produced nothing but a son named Manasseh who was such a horrible king that God rained down judgment on Israel because of his evil reign(see 2 Kings 21:10-15).  So sometimes, as I said, it’s best to leave the end of things in God’s more than capable hands and let Him decide when to turn out the lights and close the doors.

Robert Quinn in his book “Deep Change” (a must read for anyone at a crossroads or thinking that a crossroads might be imminent) says that we either go through deep change or slow death.  Slow death means doing the same things you’re doing that aren’t working and assuming the outcome will change; in other words, Einstein’s definition of insanity!  (Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.)  When we are stuck, we often allow this to happen to us, and the results are what happened to RIMM or perhaps the Crystal Cathedral (along with the familial infighting and complete lack of spiritual values or relationship with God).

So rather than going on and on doing the same things that aren’t working in your life or your ministry or your business, isn’t it time to make some deep changes?  There’s a fork in the road, and only you can choose which direction you will go, how you will journey from this day forth.  You can keep on with business as usual, and find yourself five or ten years down the road with the same challenges and the same problems, with nothing healed or moved ahead.

Or you can get in front of God, on your knees or flat on your face, and say, “I’m ready for some big time movement in my life, and I don’t want to be where I am five years from now.”  What that will look like, no one knows for sure.  It’s kind of exciting.  It certainly will take your breath away.  And keep you up some nights.

But it will also give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Deep change or slow death.  For a business or a church or a ministry, it’s an essential decision.

And for a person, it means the difference between a vibrant life or a life that stagnates and goes absolutely nowhere.

Where are you in that fork in the road?  And where are you going to go from here?


  1. Wow – well put Rita. Sounds like some people I know.

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