A speaker one time made the statement to an audience, “When planning to live, make no small plans.” When I first encountered that statement, it struck me just how much we need that advice in our work for the Lord. The reason many churches have not advanced beyond what they were many years ago, the reason many churches fail to reach their potential, and yes, the reason many churches close their doors is because they have not made plans to advance and grow and do great things for the Lord. The church does not live by chance. We see this even in the book of Acts, as we have been studying through it this year: God is in control of the mission, and though he sometimes directs his people in ways that are contrary to their expectations, he ultimately works through their plans and purposes for the advance of his kingdom. The church grows because growth is planned. The church expands because it has a plan for expansion. The church is educated because it has a program of education. There is much that is accomplished in every phase of the work when we make plans to accomplish great things.
There are several impediments that should never have been allowed to enter the thinking of God’s people in planning the Lord’s work. One is: “We are so small in number we cannot expect much.” For one thing, the person who makes a statement like that reveals their lack of knowledge of Scripture (and world history, for that matter). Another related to this is, “we do not have the funds to do very much.” All of this reveals the subconscious thinking that inevitably produces failure if it is allowed to interfere with our work. This kind of thinking will always sway us in our planning.
It is dangerous to think of defeat when we are serving God. God has never been and never will be defeated! Many of his children have, after they ceased to trust in God. But the history of God’s dealings with his people will show that he has always triumphed, whether the people were many or few, poor of rich, as long as they trusted in God; but great numbers and wealth both have failed when God was placed in the background.
Another of these major hindrances is the feeling that “we have done some good work and now we have earned some rest for awhile.” Is that what Jesus taught? Did the church at Jerusalem rest when their number mounted into the thousands? The only instances we have in the Bible of the church having rest is when it is said to be at rest from their enemies. On those occasions, the same statements describe them saying they grew mightily, increased in numbers and multiplied. In other words, they were busy in the service of God!
Look at the history of any church that has made outstanding progress in God’s service. In every instance you will find people who were willing to tackle big plans. You will find people who were so busy doing big things for God that they had no time to spent fretting about weaknesses from a human standpoint. You will find people who trusted God when God was all that was present to trust. Such faith and effort brings success.
I want to encourage us not to make small plans in serving the Lord. Let’s dream big dreams and make big plans. That’s not to say that good sense and prudence should not be used; but I tend to think that most of us have never planned anything even up to our ability, let alone anything beyond our ability.
We have a lot of things planned here in the next few weeks: many of us just went door knocking yesterday; we hope to use that as a spring board into launching visits for New Movers; we have Homecoming in just a couple of weeks; a Fall Festival at the end of the month; and some other exciting things that are in the works that we will be talking more about in the coming weeks. Why not get involved in some of these plans?
A good place to start would be a personal commitment to be present for every assembly if at all possible—and not just on Sunday morning, but our gatherings on Sunday and Wednesday evening. Another good plan would be to invite someone new each week to come and worship with us. Just think, even though we only have 2 weeks until Homecoming, if 100 people issued an invitation each of the next 2 weeks to just 2 new person, we would have invited 200 people to come visit that day. Now think about those same numbers stretched over the course of a year.
Let’s make no small plans and dream no small dreams. Let’s dream big dreams and make big plans for the Liberty Church of Christ. That takes all of us—we are counting on you.