Planning: Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs

I've been working on a presentation for the Board tonight regarding our future: capital improvements, staffing, funding, etc. Stuff that didn't make it into our strategic ministry plan (I'll be sharing our top three goals from that plan for this year in my message on the last weekend of September).

Here are some reminders and insights from the process:

  • I'm way too impatient. I want to move yesterday on everything. I don't want to pray about it. I don't want to trust God that he can move in big ways without our help, our money or our plans. But the fact that God doesn't just plop the money down and give me a list of his priorities is a gift. It makes me fall on my knees and depend more on him.
  • Putting it down on "paper" and out of my head (1) is the catalyst to recognizing and calling out my impatience, prayerlessness and lack of faith, (2) makes it obvious that everything can't be done at once and (3) gets the ball rolling in the right direction leading to prayer and discernment.

So, what kinds of things am I thinking about and will I be presenting on tonight?

  • We're currently working with a company on sound, video and lighting challenges we're facing at both campuses. Getting down to what really needs to be done and how to pay for it will be challenging.
  • I'm deeply concerned (even troubled) about several building issues including (1) the impossibility of reading our Radio Drive sign when driving by (new signs are extremely expensive and the size is highly restricted by the city); (2) the broken concrete by the front doors; and (3) the first impression of the half driveway as you enter (no, we didn't build it like use to be a full one in phase one and we couldn't afford to eliminate it in phase 2 or 3 without sacrificing other priorities).
  • We've been understaffed for a couple of years and it's hard to plan additional staff in this economy and without more growth (we grew 3% in the ministry year that just ended). I have too many direct reports since we did not rehire an executive pastor, but streamlining that in a way that makes sense and doesn't put current staff over the edge is much harder than you might think. 

So those are some of the issues the Governing Board will look at tonight. Any thoughts?

The Importance of Campus Ministries (This is for anyone who has children of any age)

Many of you have heard me talk about this before, but I can't stress it enough. The key to a college student's spiritual walk in college is directly tied to their participation in a campus ministry like Campus Crusade, InterVarsity or Navigators or in a good church. In my experience with students, the campus ministry is the "gateway" to a good church in college.

If your kids are in college, do all you can to get them involved. I know, it may be impossible to force it at this point if they don't do it on their own, but it might be worth nagging about, calling a vibrant ministry on campus and asking them to target your child, offering financial incentives or disincentives to your child...whatever is not sin and will work for YOUR child is worth trying.

If your child was involved in our student ministries, chances are they will seek it out for themselves, but they may need a nudge. One of ours knew how important it was, heard Tim and his parents (us) talk about it all the time and fully intended to join, but school was busy and starting new things is intimidating, so he put it off. With some nudging and nagging and praying and a phone call to the campus ministry, he got involved and is a leader in that ministry today.

The other side of all this is that after you've done your part and exhausted your options, you do have to let it go and hand it over to God. Keep praying, but stressing out about it won't help anyone.

But in my experience, parents let go on this way too soon. Sadly, some let it go as early as junior high. If you required your kids to go to school and to work and to get good grades but did not very strongly urge or "require" that they go to church or student ministries of some kind, repent now. Yes, there are exceptions to this, that's why I make it a habit not to judge any persons situation (I'm not walking in their shoes), but chances are you're not one of those exceptions. Repent now before it's too late to make a difference. As long as they are your dependent, it's never too late to start "requiring" that they also cultivate this value that far surpasses good grades, a great career and a good work ethic in importance.