I will be taking a vacation Sunday on January 19. Rev. Dr. Tom Long will be our preacher.
My family’s decision-making process for this Sunday off included:
· How can we make a Christmas visit with the Pennsylvania grandparents
· How can we visit Elizabeth’s grandparents around the time of her birthday, January 16
· How much time can we spend away from home and school
· How much money can we spend
· Where can we meet up with the grandparents
· Who else would we like to see
· What else would we like to do
· What are Leah’s needs and plans as she starts her spring semester on that Monday
When planning a vacation, most of us consider our finances, who we want to see, what we want to do, what will our calendar allow, and quite a few other things. Personally, when Diana and I make decisions, it boils down to want will our finances, calendar, and family will allow us to do rather than what we might really like to do.
And isn’t that a little bit like how churches make plans? How often do churches make plans based on what their finances will allow? How often are church calendars and events determined by their past? How often do congregations even take seriously their “long range” planning? How difficult is it for churches to ask what is God asking of us and what are we being asked to do to carry the gospel into the future? What must we do to better serve our neighbors and the next generation?
Often churches are not very planful about the way they move ahead. Too often congregations do not make decisions about the directions in which they are moving, or if they do, the decisions are based on what will their finances, resources, and people allow them to do. And, too often, church plans are determined by what has been done in the past.
As our Annual Congregational Meeting and the election of new Council members approaches, would it be well for us consider how our church plans things? Should we ask not what we can do and what we should do? Should we ask, what, in our life together might be “slipping,” and are there things we should be doing to better or differently to serve God, our community and even the next generation of believers as we move into the years ahead?