Here's what happens. A group of people get together and have an idea. They feel a need. Maybe God calls them to do something. Or maybe whatever they put in that blank is just the new, cool, trendy thing to say.
I've heard things like. . .
"We want to explore what it would look like to be the Church in the inner-city."
"We set out to understand what it would really look like to love people like God loves people."
"We started meeting to discover what it would look like to help these prostitute mothers."
Here's the problem. The statement is a non-committal. It's too safe and many people hide behind it, especially young people. It is more of call to form a committee and talk then any kind of real action. When the group finally discovers what it does look like, the members still reserve the option to back out, sometimes even before they get started. The statement lacks action and risk.
I don't believe God calls us to know what something looks like. That's just a curious study or endless discussions over coffee. Abraham wasn't called to know what it would look like to leave his land and go, he was just told to go. Barnabas didn't explore what it would look like to find a church body in Antioch and help disciple them, he just found what he found and then when and got Paul. God calls us to be something, do something, or pray for something, and after we've done that, we'll know what it looks like. We don't need to worry too much in the meantime if we're going to be faithful. And chances are good that what it looks like is not anything we ever would have understood at the start of the thing. You'll know what it looks like when you get there, but you have get moving in that direction to get started.
So maybe a better thing to say is, "What is it going to take for us to . . . " or "what's the next step we need to take?" Or even better, just simplify.
"We want to be the Church in the inner-city"It's really okay to figure how how it will look when you get there, so go ahead and take a step of faith and get moving. Take a risk. See what happens. It will be worth it.
"We want to love people like God loves people."
"We are helping these prostitute mothers."