On Sailboats and Rowboats

One of the earliest symbols of the church was a boat. Interestingly, it was not a rowboat like the fisherman-turned-disciples might have been used to. It was a sailboat. The reason why is because the church has always understood that it operates not in its own strength but instead by the strength of the Holy Spirit.

rowboatConsider the difference between being a rowboat church and a sailboat church. In a rowboat church, everything is up to us. If we go forward, it is by our hard work and determination. If anything good happens, it is because we have made it happen. A rowboat church doesn’t need or rely on the wind of God’s Holy Spirit.

sailboatA sailboat church, on the other hand, relies on a source of strength outside its own resources. The leaders and the members have a sense that when we are on the move, it is only because of the wind. That’s why the early church chose the symbol of the sailboat- because they knew that God’s Spirit, not sheer determination, was moving them forward in ministry.

I’m glad to be part of a church where God’s Spirit is moving. It feels like sailing! We are seeing people growing in faith and taking on new challenges. There is solid teaching around tables and compelling worship on Sunday mornings. You have a top-notch staff and faithful elders and deacons. There are many who are working hard, but more important, there is a real sense that we are seeing God’s Spirit blowing at Westminster. Praise God for that!

All for the glory of God,

Pastor Daniel

*I credit Joan Gray’s Spiritual Leadership for Church Officers for the idea for this article.