Day 23 Faith Alone and Due Diligence

Scriptures

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Proverbs 20:18 Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.

Proverbs 24:5-6 A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might,6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.

Exposition

“Churches, like individuals, should have a teachable spirit. Proverbs, the book of wisdom, reminds us more than once of the value of getting good advice.  Of course, “plans” and “guidance” are assumed to be advance initiatives that guide a decision rather than an effort to affirm a decision already made.

Real Planning

Rev. Jim Swedenburg tells of going to a church as minister of education. He soon discovered that the church had space that was not functional. There were problems with classrooms being the wrong size for the age group, having too few rooms for some age groups, and having more rooms than needed for other age groups. So, the church secured the services of a Church Architect to help them renovate their space. The building was renovated over twenty-five years ago now, and the space is still serving the church well. Now the rest of the story… The church had discarded almost identical drawings from the same Church Architect twenty years before Jim came to the church. The church committee had decided they knew better than the expert and went with a local architect. Jim found the rejected blueprints stored in the office. If the church had listened to wise counsel the first time, their space would have lasted fifty years instead of twenty, and the ministry would have been more efficient..

Seek Wise Counsel

Church members sometimes discount the help of denominational leadership or outside consultants asking, ―What do they know about our church or community?  (As if their church is completely unlike any other church or community.)  Outside consultants can be an immense help:  An outside consultant can bring fresh eyes to your situation and see things from an objective point of view. By the way, it is not only our weaknesses we miss; sometimes, we need help to see some of our own strengths. While the consultant is not a member of your church, he will have had experience in many churches. By contrast, most of the leaders in your congregation have been members of your one church so long, they may have a more limited perspective.  By virtue of his training and experience, your consultant will know things you do not know.  Most consultants will want to listen to you to gather your insights about your church and community. Then, based on your input, along with the hard numbers and his own observations, he will bring recommendations for your consideration.  Be willing to consider that even if he is not 100% right, he may be 75% right—and you need that 75%!” Derek Gentle

Application

The Team: Our Closest Counselors

Our churches are deliberately connectional, members of a Presbytery.  One of the advantages Presbytery leaders can offer us is free counsel and recommendations to proper outside counsel where they see a need.  Making decisions without advance counsel could lead to missed steps in the process of change, wrong directions, wasted resources, and delayed opportunity to fully engage in the ministry the church is called to perform.  Never put faith in any human, but in God alone. Instead, give advisors your prayerful and thoughtful consideration. When various counselors have told you the same thing, that could give their counsel extra weight and serve as an indicator of God’s guiding.

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