The flying V formation of geese overhead is an annual telltale sign that cooler temperatures are on the way. Characteristically, wild geese make a screeching sound as they fly. Hearing this wild call has an effect on tame barnyard geese, the ones who have given up on the dangerous journey in favor of barnyard food and security. As the wild cousins fly overhead, the tame geese run along the ground and flap their wings wildly, somehow trying to imitate the mad flight of the migrating geese. The squawking seems to awaken something innate in them, a memory of wildness.
As with my friend Gary who I wrote about last week, this illustration has implications for us on many levels. On one level we suggest that it is the task of leadership to do exactly the same as the wild geese: to fly over the heads of those we lead in order to call them to the dangerous journey of mission and B4T in the name of God. To do this, we ourselves have to take flight and risk the long journey across continents. The task of leadership and by extension, the task of developing missional leaders, requires us to call people to do wild things – to remind them what they are made for.
On another level, the story reminds us that at bottom, we are disciples of Jesus Christ. The disciple too, has to join the journey of risk. In flying over the heads of the people in our culture, our task is to call them to the dangerous but marvelously instinctive journey to God through Jesus.
The twist in the tale is this: that while it has been observed that wild geese have become tame; it has seldom been observed that tame geese can become wild again. We need to beware of the anesthetizing and stultifying effects that Christendom, the tame, non-missional church, and our safe middle class-ness have had on us. Let’s follow the head of our flying V, Christ, and not be tamed by what the world or even the non-missional church has to offer us. What’s wild and of risk is also eternal!