As I've mentioned before in this space, I've been trying to think long term--specifically 20 years from now.
When I first came to Lanse Free Church 7 years ago, I said that my first goal was to stay for 10 years. It wasn't a promise so much as a goal. Pastor Jack Kelly, was the longest English-preaching pastor at LEFC with 9 years of service. If I made it to 10 years, I would be in the lead! (There was an old Swede that holds the record at 11 years).
But now that 10 years is fast approaching, I think it's wise to re-focus my vision and re-set my goals. And I'm thinking 20 years.
What would ministry look like after another 20 years?
Some areas of this vision:
- church planting
Philipsburg and Clearfield EFC???
- several more families and singles launched into world missions
- new leadership structures
biblical, flexible, and effective
- a generation of new "elders"
developing of more qualified and competent men to lead the church
- a systematic discipleship curriculum for the whole church
maybe even the West Branch Bible Institute?
- a rich, robust, theological-thinking community with a good feel for relevant application
pervasive sound & healthy doctrine
- a community-blessing and evangelistically fruitful church family
- God-centered families where biblical manhood, womanhood, and childhood flourishes
- new healthy God-centered, Bible-saturated ministries for all ages/life cycles
- a biblical counseling center
so that our church is seen in the community as possessing and dispensing wisdom
- regional pastors mentored
so that no one comes into a church out here in central PA and has to stand alone (as I sometimes felt at first)
- a wider ministry influence for me
perhaps being used outside of central PA in in preaching, teaching, missions, mentoring, and maybe some writing...but not leaving the auspices and authority and centrality of the local church
In 20 years, all of my own 4 kids will be grown. The youngest will be 21. I will have 27 years of service in (30 years of ministry experience including my days as a seminarian youth pastor), and only be 52 years old myself.
I'm sure that I can't see what will actually happen in 20 years, but peering into the future like that has helped me to see clearer what things I should be doing today.