September 25, 2017

Where is Your Mountaintop?

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NOTE: The Following is an excerpt from Faith-Based: A Biblical, Practical Guide to Strategic Planning in the Church, by Michael Gafa.

Confidence and assurance for what lies ahead is rooted in understanding and appreciating what has already taken place. The whole of scripture reveals the breathtaking dimensions of God’s unfolding plan of redemption and restoration, which is assured in Christ.

Scripture connects what was with what is, and what is yet to come. Knowing what has already taken place, and what is promised, instills in us a deeper understanding that God is indeed sovereign, that Christ is indeed building His Church, and that the Holy Spirit is indeed bringing about transformation.

Romans 15:4 conveys this dynamic beautifully:

“Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

The unfolding biblical narrative is ample in itself to strengthen us for what lies ahead.  But let’s not stop there; let’s make it personal. Whether your church has been in existence for two years or two-hundred years, God has been at work throughout its history. Before forming ideas and plans, pause to reflect on and be strengthened by recalling how God has worked in your church.  Think on days past when God’s providence was unmistakable and God’s movement undeniable.

In fact, why not gather your leaders for a time of prayer, reflection, and thanksgiving in a specific place in your church or community where God was clearly at work in the past? It could be the sanctuary that God provided at a point in time. It could be the building the church used to worship at prior to its present location. It could be a meeting room where an important leadership decision was made many years ago. What place in your church or community can you gather your leaders to help remind them of God’s faithfulness?

The precedent for this approach was set by Christ Himself. Just prior to His death, Jesus instructed the Disciples to meet Him on a specific mountain in Galilee following His resurrection (Mt. 26:32, Mt. 28:16). Meeting on a mountain would have made for a difficult, uncomfortable journey, but Jesus called the disciples there because throughout the Scriptures, time and time again, God reveals who He is on mountains. God gave the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai; God reigned down fire on Mount Carmel; Jesus was transfigured on a “high mountaintop.” In bringing the Disciples to a mountain in Galilee, Jesus takes them back to the origins of their faith. It was in Galilee that Jesus first called most of them, performed His first public miracle, and preached the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus knew the importance of having His disciples look back before receiving the commission He would give them while on the mountain:

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Mt. 28:19-20)

Where is your mountaintop? What place will you gather the leaders in your church to reflect on and be strengthened by who God is, and what God has done?

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