Mt. Hood rises 11,239 ft in elevation to the east of Portland, about 42 miles distant, yet clearly visible. With record snowfall blanketing its entire face, it stands as a white pearl under a pristine blue sky, and embraced by old growth forests as far as the eye can see.
From the safety of a distant lookout, the mountain appears serene. In reality, it is anything but calm. Very quickly, storms can create whiteout conditions for climbers. And even in clear weather, the dangers abound, especially when warmth creates unstable avalanche conditions. Lives have been lost, even by experienced mountaineers, because of Mt. Hood’s unpredictable nature.
In ministry, we can view new initiatives from the safety of our vision casting meetings and assume the best about our prospects. But like the savviest of the most experienced mountaineers, we would be wise to pay special attention to the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats which affect our ministry situation. Common sense, attention to maintaining warm relationships, fervent prayer, and careful preparation, all stirred into a huge vat of humility and clear lines of communication ought to heighten the potential success of our ministry initiatives. But there still may be storms. The question is: Will we be prepared for their unexpected arrival?