Sunday, May 19, 2013
The People Flourish
Friday, May 28, 2010 Comments (0)
Because I am on mailing lists for multiple “trade journals,” I receive sample issues of magazines that aim to sign me up as a paying subscriber. While my first impulse is to rifle these “freebies” into the waste basket, I often will flip through one to see if the sample copy contains anything of worth. One such gleaning came this week by way of a business journal that promises to help readers recognize emerging trends before their competitors do – the idea being that having a leg up over others in your profession is always a good thing.
I can’t disagree with that logic, even as it applies to “our Father’s business.” Everyone knows the famous proverb, “Without a vision the people perish” (Prov. 29:18). People of faith need an understanding of a “preferred future” in order to be sufficiently motivated in their Christian service. Most find that understanding to fall out somewhere in the areas of worship, evangelism, missions, discipleship, and community –areas of common purpose that every Christian shares. But then as Christians come together, each congregation has to find its own understanding within these areas so that they might have the greatest impact.
First Baptist, Tallahassee, has embraced a “future” that is characterized by people who experience the abundant life promised by Jesus (John 10:10). We are “here” on this block to prepare ourselves for the work to which Jesus has called us. Our worship connects us to the Source of abundant life, which then empowers us for a life of witness and service that enables us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus and in appreciation for others who are with us in the journey of faith. As long as we focus on this vision, there is every reason to believe that our best days lie before us.
I say all of this to encourage you to keep your eyes on the “big picture” as we move into the next phase of our construction project. We will face many challenges in the next year or so in terms of access to our facilities, but I see possibilities for creative solutions to these challenges that will make us a better church in the long run. We will attempt some new ways of doing things that we may find to be far superior to the old ways. We will be “hands on” with some tasks that previously we relied on other people doing. We will come to value some realities that heretofore we had always taken for granted.
So, I envision a future that has us trusting God for more grace than we ever imagined necessary. And as we do, we’ll come to see ourselves a stronger and more resilient people. That’s not how life always goes for churches (and individuals) who face times of transition. Without a vision they perish; but with one they flourish. If this is a choice, I know which option and future I prefer.
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