The 3rd of 6 emails unveiling the 5 Guiding Principles LFA’s Governing Elders formed to discern big decisions for LFA’s future. Today, Guiding Principle #2: God’s leadership gives us hope.
What did Jesus mean when He said, I am with you always (Matthew 29:20)? Or when He said, I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)? Is that literally true? For example, does He stay with us and lead us even through failure? Or when you fail does Jesus abandon ship, only to return if you straighten up, clean up, and, while you’re at it, hurry up?
Those are the kinds of question you ask when you feel your past failure disqualifies you from God’s help for your future. If you have been troubled by these kinds of questions, I have good news … past failure doesn’t exclude you from God’s best for your future. In fact, God wonderfully redeems our failure, wisely incorporating it into His good plan. Don’t get me wrong, such grace doesn’t motivate us to purposefully fail, nor does it exclude us from the responsibility to humbly evaluate our failure and learn from our past. But it does powerfully change our outlook. God’s gracious, wise, redeeming leadership gives us hope.
For LFA, this truth hits home because, according to most human definitions, we failed. Back in 2008, after seeking God’s will together, with near unanimity, we sold our facilities on Main Road and bought our current property on Lincoln Avenue. By 2010, we had hoped to raise the necessary funds to build a new sanctuary and classrooms. If success is measured by the fulfillment of our plan, then we failed.
Feeling failure opens the door to a barrage of questions and knee-jerk solutions:
- Did we not hear from God? Can we step out in faith again?
- Did our leaders screw up? Can we trust them?
- Was it a mistake to purchase 1987 S. Lincoln? Should we sell it and find a church-home elsewhere?
Over these years I’ve found such questions abound. At the core of most though is this one: what’s our hope for the future? As Governing Elders, we humbly recognize there’s much to learn from our past; still, as we look ahead, we don’t believe this journey has been a failure. Nor do we conclude that the solution is to go back to square one, discarding what we prayed about and wholeheartedly felt God was leading us to do. In contrast, we believe our hope for the future rests on our trust that God has indeed been providentially leading us though our past. Though some see failure in our building journey, we’re grateful Jesus promises that rather than abandoning us, He’s still with us, steering the ship.
I’d benefit by hearing your thoughts on this. Perhaps you can list specific ways God has shaped LFA through the last 6 years. I look forward to reading your email. Next week, Guiding Principle #3, God’s gifts require wise stewardship.
Pastor Nate (firstname.lastname@example.org)