My life just got simpler. At least by a little. The reconstruction of the highway I use to commute from my home to the WMPL offices has just been completed. For three years it was hard to know what exits and interchanges would be open or closed, and which side streets or surface roads I would need to take instead of the freeway. I sure was thankful to count on the GPS in my phone, but even that tool had a difficult time finding directions when the map kept changing.
The life and work of the Prayer League over the last few years has also contended with a variety of changing “maps.” Administratively, we’ve adjusted to shifts and shortfalls in our home staffing while also addressing increasingly complex tax and employment laws, and evolving regulations for international partnerships. Globally, the map of where and how we can send and serve continues to challenge us and similar organizations with its fluctuating surges of political and ideological barriers. And ecclesiastically – that is, within the church – we see, as others do, the diminished numbers of North American young people aligning with the Christian faith.
It sure would be nice to have a GPS for all of this! What we do have, of course, is much better: a loving and sovereign God who sees and knows all of this and yet is not shaken. He continues mercifully to complete his plans for the gospel to reach the ends of the earth by calling, empowering and sending his people to live it out and proclaim it. No manner of changing map can change his mission, nor his will and power to fulfill it. For this he sent his Son Jesus, and for this he continues to send us his Holy Spirit.
Changing maps really aren’t anything new. The first Christians lived in a very ungodly and conflicted world wherein God himself was changing the map. Jewish followers of Jesus who ventured away from Judea began sharing the gospel with non-Jews (Gentiles) in those places. In a short span of time the community of Christ-followers was spread wide not only geographically, but culturally. The question arose: Do Gentile believers need to live like Jews in order to be saved? Specifically, do they need to be circumcised?
Where were these first Christians going to find directions for this ground-breaking, map-changing development? Interestingly, the pursuit of needed new directions began with something that might at first seem a mundane routine, but proved to be an ordained pathway for moving the mission of the gospel forward.
Saint Luke captured this succinctly:
And so the apostles and the elders met together to consider this matter.Acts 15:6
Surely God guides the Church by his Holy Spirit, but by the same Holy Spirit he also appoints some followers of Jesus to be leaders. He gifts and appoints them to carefully and prayerfully “consider” and discern matters, and then to give direction. The apostles and elders did just that after they met in Jerusalem, communicating their directions, including that circumcision not be required, in a letter meant to unify believers, while remaining faithful to God’s Word and to the gospel. Their Spirit-guided decisions charted the path for the young but globally expanding church.
Friends and partners of WMPL, we, too, need leaders who can consider the unchanging truth of the gospel and the ever-changing realities of this world, and then give Spirit-guided direction for the Kingdom work to which we have been called. We are greatly blessed to have gifted and dedicated men and women of God who serve on our Board of Directors. As their title implies, they, by God’s grace and provision, find and then give very important directions to our organization. As I write this I am working with Board Chair Drew Bayless to establish the agenda for their October meeting. Among many other things, they will be discussing the need for more and new members of the board.
Please pray for our Board of Directors, thanking God for their service and asking him to guide them in their deliberations. Pray also that he will raise up other faithful individuals who can serve in this capacity. If you know of someone you think might be a good fit, please share their name with Drew (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Pray, too, for the Lord to provide for us another kind of “director,” an Administrative Director. We were pleased for some months to have Nick Moody serve in that role, but due to personal circumstances he regretfully found that he could no longer serve in that capacity. He blessed us enormously during his brief term, during which he established some needed new “directions” in our policies and procedures. Now God is providing for us through John Collova, our new Business Manager, and Dan Rusch, serving as our Administrative Director until such time that we find a new one. We are hoping that time will be soon. Please join us in fervent prayer that God will so provide for us! As the “map” continues to change, we’re counting on him to give us directions – and directors!