“Have you been seeing those Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes commercials?,” my grandmother asked, during one of our regular phone calls.
No, I told her. She’s not dissuaded by this. “Well I know it’s silly, but I’ve been planning out what I’d do if I won,” she told me. Then she shared how she’d help various family members, pay off mortgages, and make sure her great grandkids are set up for college.
Granny isn’t alone: most of us have daydreams of what we’d do if we were handed a check for $1 million. And while some of us would buy a small tropical island, or a 10-car garage for our fleet of luxury cars, many more of us would have practical, even philanthropic ideas: pay off some bills, help out a friend, give most or even all of it to a good cause.
Five months into our Loaves & Fishes process, this is what strikes me: we all have ideas – good ones. Already we’ve collected a hundred $1 million ideas.
So how do we choose between all these good ideas? How do we actually make a decision?
We started with two things:
- Listening: the Loaves & Fishes committee listens carefully to the feedback coming from our prayer schools. Many of us are actually praying through the monthly feedback report, asking that God would shape our thinking as we contemplate your ideas, themes, and suggestions.
- Collecting data: One of the insights I took away from the book we read, The Way of Discernment, is that discernment requires data. In the last few weeks members of the congregation have done over 90 interviews that have raised incredible ideas and themes: rich data that is informing our discernment process.
This Friday we’ll hold a mini summit to further flesh-out some of the ideas that have emerged. It’s an opportunity for everyone in the congregation to engage and share their passion for issues and ideas.
Coming out of the summit, the Loaves & Fishes committee needs to move from listening and data collection into a new phase of the process, where certain ideas can emerge for further, deeper consideration. How to let these ideas emerge is a question we are wrestling with: we know it involves prayer, discussion, and several rounds of consideration.
My grandmother may know how she’d spend a million dollars, but it’s not as easy to figure that out for our congregation. To keep us focused, we plan to have organized days of prayer and fasting throughout February, March and April – and all LaSallers will be invited to join us. Until then, here are some specific things for which you can pray:
- Pray for the ability to listen well and deeply.
- Pray for a single-minded desire, on behalf of the church, to focus on God’s direction for our congregation and for our lives as individuals.
- Pray for the passions of individuals in the congregation to grow, regardless of whether or not there is funding for their idea.
- Pray for a unified sense of calling and the ability of the committee to identify it.
Watch for more information in mid-February. Thanks for all you’re doing to support this initiative.