What is one of the first things your children invariably hear when traveling a distance to a grandparents’ or older relative’s house? Is it, “How was school today?” or “Do you have much homework tonight?” or “Don’t forget to take the trash out.” No, those aren’t the phrases you’d expect when they haven’t seen them for a while. We all know they’re going to hear, “Oh my, look how much you’ve grown!” In contrast, why don’t they hear that from us at home so often? Imagine if each day your children came home from school and heard from us parents, “Hi honey, how was school? Oh my, look how much you’ve grown!” (and the resulting annoyed response, “C’mon, Mom, you’ve said that every day this week!”).
The obvious answer of course lies in the difference between the everyday view and the long-range view. Aunt Martha has the luxury of focusing on the long-range view of your little darlings as they grow, and just can’t help her excitement as she pinches their cheeks. I’m a little like Aunt Martha these days, but in a forward-looking way. I’ve had the luxury lately of spending time looking, praying, and thinking about Kossuth in a longer-range scope. In fact, thinking about Kossuth beyond 2014 is one of the reasons I’m excited about Kossuth in 2014.
A couple weeks ago, Paul very helpfully encouraged us to consider the renewal of our commitments as members of the KSBC body. Last week, Tom stirred our anticipation of several blessings coming our way in 2014. This week, I thought it might be helpful to give some insight to even longer-range thinking you don’t hear much about yet but will in 2014.
One of our initiatives is a multi-year strategic plan. How much is “multi-year”? Personally, I can’t help but have a sense of 10-15 years in the back of my mind. Then again, James 4:13-17 suggests perhaps our plans may change in short order. Officially we’ve focused ourselves on about a 5-year window. We’ve been laying the groundwork to consider a plan that’s perhaps a bit different from other “strategic plans”, because our God-centered theology informs us we aren’t sufficient to bring about anything on our own steam (e.g., 2Cor 3:5, 4:7). So how do you “plan” for what you can’t “make happen?” It’s a question that’s driven us to look hard again into the scriptures that Jesus will build his church and our role in that work. As we solidify this framework in the next month or so, we look forward to a wide circle of our congregation to join us in the long-range thinking process this spring, with further planning to follow thereafter. By the end of this year our goal is to enjoy a well-defined set of priorities and principles that, Lord willing, strongly guides where we invest our energy and resources for years to come.
Another area of longer-range impact is our adult-discipleship. In our leadership meetings we have been working through various directions for church-wide adult discipleship curriculum. Abraham has poured countless hours into researching materials and we are reviewing options for a plan that spans three years or more of materials designed to build year upon year for the health of our body. It’s easy to try to measure “church growth” in terms of headcount, dollars, buildings, and programs. Ephesians 4:12-16 offers an alternative picture of growth as the maturity and love of the church in action, and it’s exciting to ponder. As we finish this curriculum groundwork, mull over with our Connection Group teachers, and further flesh-out the details, it’s again possible we’ll finish 2014 with a foundation of a growth plan that will impact KSBC for many years to come!
We can’t neglect the daily responsibilities. The trash needs emptied, the homework needs done, and the snow needs shoveled. But as creatures made in the image of our eternal God, we get to consider more than today – even more than this year. I’m pumped about the planning and work being done in 2014 that will serve us, Lord willing, long beyond 2014. Please pray for wisdom for the several folks who are and will be involved in current and upcoming planning efforts. Always feel free to talk to any of us elders about it anytime. Be careful, though; if we get too excited we just might pinch your cheeks.