We are finishing up our first series of the season and we’ve been saying that our heavenly Father wants to put us on the right path in life. God wants to direct our steps and lead us down the path of a successful life. Sometimes when we take the wrong path, we blame God for our decisions. But the decisions are all ours. We can learn from these experiences of course, but we can also choose to learn in ways that are less painful and more efficient.
Successful people, people who like where they end up, aren’t successful because they know it all, or even because they know everything they need to know to succeed. Successful people know what they don’t know, they know what they need to learn and they know where to go to learn. That’s wisdom.
The Bible talks about the reliable sources of wisdom: God, the community of the Church and the wise people around us.
Currently we are involved in a planning process that hopefully brings together all three. Last spring we gathered together a large group of our parish leadership and talked about where we are and what’s ahead, as far as we have an ability to see ahead. We spent the day discussing the challenges and opportunities ahead and even casting some vision. Coming out of that meeting we formed five teams of leaders and professionals to look at five broad areas we could use to organize those challenges: buildings and campuses; technology; finances; human resources, which we have called “talent” and a category we called “teaching church.” Those teams have been meeting through the summer and fall to sort through the massive amounts of information and ideas those categories encompass.
Today Tom and I met with the leadership team for the whole strategic planning process and had an excellent mid point discussion. They hope to be able to present some form of a report to the whole parish in the new year.
For any plan like this to be wise, we must first rely on the wisdom of God, we need God’s hand to get us started, his direction to proceed and his blessing to succeed. We need to desperately want what God wants for us and all our efforts. And because the religious landscape is changing around us so quickly, complete obedience to God is the only wise path. Next we need the wisdom of the Body of Christ, which means close association with our Archbishop and Bishop and other pastors, even other Christian churches, if they are willing to talk to us. But our planning should be closely united to and reliant on the wisdom of the people in the pews, and at this Church there is a lot of wisdom and expertise out there. From time to time we will be reporting back on the path ahead.