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Planning Aheadby Duane Mabee on July 26, 2018
“We cannot control what will happen to the next generation when we are gone, but we can do everything possible to pave the way for them.” Lee Kricker, For a New Generation.
Planning for the future is a crucial skill. It is key to success both personally and corporately. It can also be a difficult skill to learn. It is easy to address immediate issues with solutions that inadvertently hamper what you can do in the future. It’s easy to get so caught up in doing what we need to do today, that we fail to plan for what will come next. When we do that, we limit – or eliminate – our future effectiveness.
I had never really thought about it before, but the results of a failure to plan for the future may be described in the Old Testament. Moses planned ahead. He mentored Joshua. Pretty much wherever Moses went Joshua went. He got the privilege of watching and participating. So, when it came time for a leadership transition, Joshua was ready.
Joshua, on the other hand, never seems to have identified someone to mentor. At least there is no record of anyone following him around, watching what he did, or participating in the process. That may partly explain why Israel basically fell apart when Joshua passed off the scene. It doesn’t appear that anyone was ready to fill the leadership gap. That may have been (emphasis on may have been) a leadership failure on Joshua’s part. Don’t be too hard on him, though, he had so much going on that demanded his immediate attention that it should be understandable if some things slipped through the cracks.
As individuals and as a church, we can easily have the same problem. We can get focused on doing what we need to do today and forget how quickly we will pass off the scene. We can get absorbed in shaping things the way we want them, that we forget that our primary objective is to prepare things for the next generation.
Brian Houston writes: We are all on loan to this world, and while here, we are simply stewards of the vision God has given us. One day a new generation will take over where we leave off, and I pray they will pursue with even greater fervor the things of God. …Put simply, your vision is not just for you; it is for those to come.”
One of the reasons we exist is to prepare the next generation to succeed. We must also prepare for the transition of the church to the next generation. That being the case, we must always plan ahead; making certain that the decisions we make today will not hamper them or box them into something they do not want and cannot lead. Are we addressing immediate issues with solutions that solve today’s problems AND set them up to succeed in the future?