It’s June already?! I’m new to Minnesota, so maybe I’m missing something. Where did spring go? Just as I was expecting warmer days and budding flowers, in April we had our biggest snows of the year! And then, within two or three weeks’ time, the snow was gone and the thermometer hit 80°. I value change in general, and certainly appreciate the change of seasons that God created, but that all happened so quickly I hardly knew what clothes to wear!
In recent issues of Together in Prayer (see January, February and March) I’ve talked a bit about some of the changes we’re experiencing in the World Mission Prayer League. Those changes have been coming pretty quickly, and this month of June is no exception. I want to ask you to pray for those changes. And I want to ask you to pray on this question: Who directs the World Mission Prayer League?
Even before this year, some big changes were happening for the Prayer League. For one thing, we acquired a new General Director. Our beloved brother Chuck Lindquist believed it was time to retire from the post he had served so faithfully for many years. After a thorough and prayer-fueled search process, the Home Council of the Prayer League called me to fill the “big shoes” he left behind. (They are big, by the way. I’m by no means as tall as he is.) When I asked why they would call me, already turning 60 and with a limited number of years to give, they explained that, in part, it was that they envisioned me helping the Prayer League transition into a new time, with new challenges and opportunities, something the Lord has led me to see as a “sequel” to the Prayer League story.
During the process of searching for a new General Director, other changes for WMPL were afoot. The Council and staff together were talking about moving to something called “Policy Governance®.” This would represent a significant alteration in the way the Prayer League “does business.” It would change the ways in which direction is determined and choices are made.
For the whole of its history the Prayer League has been “directed” by a General Director. Choices made by the General Director and staff went before the Home Council. Members of the council offered their “counsel” and then voted whether or not to “ratify” or approve the proposed actions. This path of governance served the Prayer League well. Increasingly, however, our staff and council alike have found it necessary to make important decisions in a way that is more timely and agile. The world in which we serve changes more quickly than we can gather together our Home Council! This is among a number of reasons why the council voted in February of this year to adopt Policy Governance® – a change we will be implementing over the next two years.
You may ask: What is Policy Governance®? What difference will it make? Policy Governance® is more complex and detailed than what I’m able to explain here. In a nutshell, however, I can say that this way of organizing ourselves will move us from a Council that reacts to and ratifies proposals of the staff, to a council that defines our objectives and delegates their accomplishment to the staff. In fact, the council will direct the Prayer League. This, our group of elected mission leaders, will become the Board of Directors. We’re not sure yet what my position will be called, but no longer will it be “General Director.” My task, along with the other workers of the Prayer League, will be to pursue the objectives, or “Ends Policies,” set by the Board of Directors, within the limitations and guidelines established by the same board. At its June 9-11 meeting, the Council (or Board of Directors) will discuss and determine the “Ends Policies,” or “desired outcomes” that describe the very reason for the existence of the Prayer League. These will be rooted in the contents of our handbook, our historic sense of calling, and input from our current staff, and will provide the “marching orders” for me and our workers worldwide.
As you can see, we are going through some significant changes! Some things, however, will not change. Indeed, we will not change who really directs the Prayer League. Who is that? The God who created the seasons, who exists beyond history, and who has called us to his mission in this time! He is sovereign and continues, by his Spirit, to direct the Prayer League. He wrote volume one of WMPL, and even now he is writing the sequel! Please pray that he will continue to direct us through this season of change, and do so for his glory and the expanse of his kingdom.
Praise God’s name from everlasting to everlasting because he is wise and powerful. He changes times and periods of history. He removes kings and establishes them. He gives wisdom to those who are wise and knowledge to those who have insight. (Daniel 2:20,21)
The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. (Psalm 33:11)