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Circling the Square

Our Plans, God's Plan

Posted by Bill Lovell on

I wrestle a bit with the idea of "planning" in church life. In an era when churches have increasingly bought in to secular categories imported from the business world, my ministry experience has always been like Jim Cymbala's at Brooklyn Tabernacle. Jim says that, when people ask him about his plans for the church, he just reminds them of what Moses must've said as he was leading Israel through the wilderness -- (to paraphrase Exodus 13:21) "See that cloud over there. We follow it." In other words, to paraphrase Jim Cymbala (and Moses), God is the master planner of the church; he is the initiator and the provider; and he is the sovereign Lord who will ultimately reign over every single thing that happens. 

To be faithful and effective, our plans need to start with the Lord, seeking to discern his plan; we need to stay with the Lord, trusting him for his provision, guidance and power; and we need to submit to the Lord, humbly acknowledging his sovereignty and accepting his authority to overrule any or all of our plans as he leads us where he wants us to go.

With the beginning of a new year, we at Christ Church Carrollton are seeking to discern God's will for us. Our hope is that by the end of January the Session will be able to put forward a set of strategic plans which we will seek humbly to implement over the next twelve months. To help us stay organized, we are grouping our ideas under three headings taken directly from our church's name -- Christ, Church, Carrollton. Our first draft currently includes 24 specific goals, with common-sense metrics to help us keep track of how we are doing.

To our church family, please be assured the Session intends to "commit our work to the Lord" (Proverbs 16:3). Please be assured that we intend to listen to the Bible and to follow wherever the Lord leads us, unhesitatingly accepting his will as he makes it plain, not necessarily with a cloud, but through careful analysis of the resources he provides, the circumstances we encounter, and the results we can measure. Please be assured that we intend to listen to you too, to your ideas and suggestions, to your questions and concerns, as full partners with the Session in discerning God's call. And, finally, please be assured that, through this very human process, the Session and I intend to be as transparent as possible, with disclosure of the how's and the why's, as much as with the what's. 

For Moses and the people of Israel, it must have been challenging at times to trust where their invisible God was leading them. Jim Cymbala has said it's been challenging at times for him and the Tabernacle. But God never wavers, God never fails, and God never lets us down. In the end, it is only God's plan which matters, and it is God's perfect plan to which we at Christ Church Carrollton will joyfully, confidently, and wholeheartedly submit.