On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy presented a bold challenge to a joint session of the Congress. He said, "Send a man to the moon by the end of the decade." How that was going to happen wasn't clear--it had never been done. But the dream unfolded.
On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan stood at the Berlin Wall and challenged, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" It seemed incredibly unlikely at the time, but happened just two years later.
On February 9, 2008, Mark Beeson stood before our congregation at all five weekend services and announced, "By the end of the year, Granger Community Church will embark on a new multi-campus strategy and will launch three new campuses in our region."
When he spoke those words, it was as unlikely as sending a man to the moon was in 1961 or tearing down the Berlin Wall was in 1987.
Consider some facts. As Mark spoke those words four weeks ago...
- We had NO locations secured. In fact, we'd made a few inquiries but had no idea if we would be able to find one facility to meet in, much less three.
- We had NO staff for this. We have learned that the most important ingredient to insure success of a new campus is finding the right leader. We had some names on paper, but had not conducted one interview for campus pastors.
- Even if we had locations or pastors, we had NO money. In fact, attendance and giving had been relatively flat for more than a year. This announcement was not coming out of the momentum of growth and extra money to invest in new ministry. We cut our budget twice in 2007 and froze our budget (including salaries) in 2008. There was NO money.
It's been four weeks since the big announcement, and not much has changed. We have one location secured and one potential campus pastor identified (though not hired). We know launching three campuses is going to cost upwards of $400,000, and we still have NO money. I don't mean that we don't have enough money--I mean we have NO money available to launch three new campuses. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
And yet our senior team believes without a doubt this is the direction we are supposed to walk. This is the path we are supposed to take. We are as unified on this decision as anything I can ever remember.
I liken it to the children of Israel who were told to walk toward the Red Sea. With an army behind them and mountains to both sides, they kept walking. It wasn't until their feet were in the water before God performed a miracle and opened the sea so they could cross.
Right now our team is surounded by a bunch of impossibilities. We are believing God that we'll have the money when it is time to spend money; that the leaders will rise to the surface at the right time; that the locations will become evident when and where we least expect it.
Are we being foolish? Some might think so. But we aren't spending money we don't have. And we aren't making commitments we can't keep. We just keep walking, taking the next step, doing the next right thing, believing the resources will be there when the time is right.
Of course, we all know how the children of Israel story turned out. And the man on the moon gig. And the Berlin wall deal. I have no idea how this story will turn out. We might end up drowning in a sea of our own foolishness and learning some valuable lessons. Or...
We might find out God has provision we know not of...more than we can ask or imagine.