The way to San Jose

“Do you know the way to San Jose?” was a song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and popularized by  Dione Warwick in the 1960s as Motown emerged as a force of the music industry.  The pop song which continues to be played on many of the “oldies” stations asks a simple question of destination.

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There are many of us in leadership who are asking a similar question.  Our question is not about geography but rather our search has to do with the time in which we live.  We are looking for a way into the future without being clear concerning the destination.

In his book “Dancing with Dragons”, a must-read from the 1980s, William Easum suggested that we are in a 40-year time gap; a chasm which he predicted would close about the year 2020.  With or without, a crystal ball most of us have a feeling that Easum is right, if not about the timing, certainly about our present process.  In this gap of time, when everything seems open to challenge and change, we hear many who are afraid of the present and the future issuing some challenging words.

Recently it was suggested to me that The Salvation Army had “lost its way”.  Another voice suggested that “we had lost our vision for the future”.  Closer to the truth might be our uncertain quest to find a way forward, to determine a destination.  Many are looking for leadership that can find a way forward.

Leadership is never about looking for someone to point the way – it is always about the personal courage to seek direction even when you are not sure what the destination is.

Moses is the example I turn to.  He too, caught in a 40-year gap, led his people forward amidst an uncertain destination. His critics accused him of taking them in circles.  Without a map (might I suggest a strategic plan) he sought only God’s leading and his personal experiences for a compass.

The twelve tribes looked for Moses to show the way through for 40 years they wandered.  At the end of those years with mission accomplished Moses was forced into retirement and new leadership emerged on the other side of their 40-year gap.  Changing leadership, I note is not the end of the mission.

As the early days of 2022 play out here are some considerations:

  • Follow God daily.
  • Keep ourselves from criticism (for which the Israelites were condemned).
  • Be satisfied with today’s manna.
  • Believe that God knows where He is leading us.
  • Keep sin out of the camp (Remember Achan).
  • Look to see who God is raising up in leadership.
  • Remember that only 2 of the spies had the faith to believe, thus “the majority” is not always the voice to which to listen.

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