One of the great enterprises of my youth was building go-karts. Using wheels from a farmer's milk cart, wood from orange crates, a bicycle headlight, and a foam cushion from Grandpa's John Deere tractor, Bob McDowell and I built some impressive vehicles.
The typical steering mechanism consisted of the driver putting one foot on each end of the axle and pushing to turn the wheels. We always wanted the sophistication of a steering wheel, but the mechanics were daunting. Eventually we salvaged a steering wheel and column from a discarded pedal truck and installed it in our go-kart. We tied a rope onto one end of the axle, threaded it through a pulley, took several turns around the steering column, passed it through the pulley on the other side and tied it to the other end of the axle. Turning the wheel tightened the rope on one end of the axle and loosened it on the other.
All set, I recruited my little brother to push me up and down the sidewalk. It was thrilling.
But I hadn't gone far when a small complication arose. The steering response was too slow. As the go-kart began to drift toward the edge of the sidewalk, I began to turn the wheel in the opposite direction. But I had to turn it too many times; by the time I actually had the direction corrected, I was way off the sidewalk. When I finally got the kart headed back, it quickly crossed over the sidewalk and went off on the other side, while I frantically turned the wheel in the opposite direction!
I couldn't keep it on the sidewalk. I seemed to always be in the ditch on one side or the other and the only time I spent on the sidewalk was when I was crossing it!
The same danger exists with churches. There is so much momentum that by the time we get a direction corrected, we're off into its opposite error.
In the past, some churches focused on reaching the nations and neglected the neighbors. Now some churches are so focused on reaching the neighbors, they are neglecting the nations. The Great Commission calls us to disciple the neighbors and disciple the nations.
How can we stay on the straight sidewalk and out of the ditch on either side?