By Dr. Kevin Thomas —
One of the marks of leadership is the ability to see opportunities where others only see problems. Those who see potential in problems take the lead and often benefit greatly from the gift of vision.
Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana provides one example. The 24-mile wide lake posed quite a problem for people wanting to travel between Mandeville and Metairie. For years the only way to traverse the lake was by ferry. The water created an obstacle that seemed too big to overcome. Many resigned themselves to the geographical dilemma-but not everyone. A few people envisioned what must have seemed impossible to the masses-build a bridge. Of course bridges were not new ideas, but one of that proportion seemed incredible. But, leaders help turn problems into possibilities. They built the bridge. Four lanes, 9500 pylons, and an astronomical amount of concrete now connect the two cities. It would have been good to own stock in concrete during that construction.
Another example is even closer to home. I was in third grade when we got our first air conditioner. I remember the sounds of slamming screen doors and attic fans drawing in the sometimes cooler outside air. The recent heat wave makes me wonder how we did it. Alabama temperatures also made the region a prime market for selling air conditioners. I have a good friend in that industry who has provided very well for his family by cooling people in the South. He turned a problem into a great business opportunity.
The church in America faces some serious problems. According to most estimates, the institutional church in this country will cease to exist in 25 years. According to demographic data, 82% of our neighbors do not think that regular worship attendance is important. The news seems bleak, depending on perspective. If they’re building a 24-mile bridge, it’s good to be in the concrete issue. If nobody in the South has an air conditioner, it’s a great time to be in the heating and cooling industry. It’s called a market rich environment. If the majority of our neighbors are not connected to the faith, then we have great opportunity to reach new people for the kingdom of Heaven. We live in a post-Christian nation. We now live on the mission field. Let’s wholeheartedly embrace the mission God is giving us!