ROOFS AND DRAGONS – THE VALUE OF PLANNING
John F. Kennedy once said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” J.R.R. Tolkien said, “It does not do to leave a live a dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” Having a plan is generally a strategy that will help us to get things done, or respond correctly when things go wrong. A plan may help us to find a solution and a way through an adverse situation that we are experiencing. A plan also helps us to know what resources we might need for dealing with situations that we can foresee.
When it comes to thinking about the importance of planning, a statement that is worth considering is one that I like to get my Maritime Passage Planning students to contemplate:
‘The best thing about failing to plan, is that disaster comes as a complete surprise that is not preceded by hours or days of stress and worry associated with the planning process.’
Common examples of beneficial planning includes areas such as, our finances, educational goals, relationships, work/life balance and travel. Other examples would include areas such as, search and rescue or first response to a incident by emergency service workers. It is not difficult to imagine how poor responses to emergency situations could be if these organisations failed to plan, or failed ensure they had the resources needed for their plans to operate. The same can be said for failing to plan for growth within a post COVID-19 church.
WHAT DOES AN EFFECTIVE PLAN INVOLVE?
Foresight is an important aspect of planning. This involves exploring what could be expected to happen and may be informed by past experience and the experiences of similar organisations. Once an organisation knows what it needs to plan for, the planning process can begin. This often involves an appraisal of the future activity, including a risk assessment. These processes then facilitate the development of steps that will best address the potential incident or activity. A well-known example of this approach is used in a First Aid context, the DRSABCD action plan.
Danger, Response, Send (for help), Airway, Breathing, Circulation/CPR and Defibrillation.
This plan helps a person who is about to administer first aid to perform a number of steps in a sequence that initially ensures the first aider remains safe, and then provides the unwell person a standardised treatment that gives them the best chance of a good outcome. Where there is no plan, inaction is often likely because people are unsure of what to do. When there is no plan, important steps may be overlooked or forgotten. This may also result in a poor outcome.
Adequate resourcing is another part of planning. In the case of the first aider’s response, providing training in CPR and the operation of an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is a strategy that will assist in achieving a good outcome. Having an AED in close proximity is also an action that may come out of planning for this type of emergency. Other resources such as an emergency telephone number (000) and having ambulance crews provided by the government will further increase the likelihood of a good outcome.
WHAT HAS PLANNING GOT TO DO WITH THE CHURCH?
I’m glad you asked. A good plan can help us to show the love grace and mercy of Jesus Christ to people who are lost and in a situation that will have a poor eternal outcome.
I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
So what might we foresee? From past experience, we can predict that people who don’t yet know Jesus as Lord and Saviour do come to church. These people may be nervous and hesitant, and could be worried about how they will be received. Their first impressions could be critical in influencing their receptiveness of the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Jude (a half-brother of Jesus) gives us a plan for helping others to experience the love of Christ.
But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
God put a plan in place, His Church. When Jesus came He got the momentum growing through His disciples and the early Church. The disciples didn’t stop after Jesus’ ascension. They were motivated to share the Gospel, save others and grow the Church. They were empowered by the Holy Spirit, just as we can be as He equips us to save others through our prayers and our actions as has been so well stated by Jude.
A BASIC PLAN
Step 1: Pray for the lost. Let us all become intercessors.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
First Timothy 2:1
Step 2: Demonstrate the love of God.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.
Second Corinthians 5:20a
Step 3: Adequately resource the plan.
Resourcing a church can be based on the questions that we can predict that a person attending a church for the first time might ask. These would include:
- Where should I park?
- What is this ‘Check-in TAS’ thing?
- How and when do I get my Children to Kid’s Church?
- Where do I sit?
- Where are the toilets?
- Are the post service drinks complementary?
- Where can I get my hand on more information about the church?
- Will anybody make the effort to say hello and have a chat with me?
- How do I seek help for my current circumstances?
Here at Legana Christian Church, our best resource is our congregation. We are group of people who have experienced the joy and peace that comes with the outworking of God’s plan for salvation. We can share this with others. We can continue to keep an eye out for that person we haven’t seen before in what could be termed ‘an outward looking approach’ to church. This can make a positive difference for a first time attender. This approach can be contrasted with ‘an inward looking approach’ where the introvert within us ensures that we only feel like chatting with people we already know and are comfortable with. This will also make a difference for the first time attender, generally not a good one.
NOW THE HARD SELL
William Barclay, author of The New Daily Study Bible, The Letters of John and Jude., states, that as members of Christ’s Church, we are part of “a chain of transmission of the faith that came from Jesus to the apostles, to the Church and then from the Church to us.” As we begin a recovery from the COVID-19 induced changes to the way we conduct our Sunday services, I believe that we need to put resources in place that will help us to show the love of Christ to others, so that we can be an effective part of the faith transmission chain. At the moment, we have a critical need for people to join our Service Attendant and out tea and coffee serving rosters. We are also seeking people to volunteer as Car Parking Directors (for larger events), for people to join our Care Team and for people to become Home Group Hosts and Leaders.
I believe that one of the most important experiences that a person who comes to a church for the first time is to be a recepient of the warmth that Jesus expects us, as His obedient followers to provide (even if we’ve had a bad week). By providing the experience of a warm welcome, we can till the soil of their hearts and help prepare this person for the seed that may be planted when they hear the truth and good news of Gospel as it is delivered during the service. This is an important part of our plan for growth and to see people from the West Tamar and beyond, come to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
I’m looking forward to giving you a warm welcome on Sunday.
Your executive pastor,
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