Summary: One of our core values is to be a strategic church - a church that works to God’s plan, using God’s provision and working with God’s people
Core values – Strategy
1 Chronicles 28. 1-13
1 Corinthians 12. 4-13 & 12.27 – 31
I am sure that many of you enjoy sports programmes of one kind or another. And before an important match or competition, there is inevitably an interview with some of the participants, asking about their strategy for success.
As I am sure you know, a luge is small one- or two-person sled on which one travels feet-first down an icy track at 85mph. The thought of that is not inspiring. But that is exactly what you have to do to if you want to become an Olympic luge gold medallist. And the slightest lapse in concentration can be punished by a spectacular and bone-crunching crash. When one Olympic medallist was asked about her strategy for success, she laughed. “Luge strategy?” she said “Lie flat and try not to die."
There are times in life when such a simple approach to strategy is appropriate. But more usually, strategy has to be a bit more sophisticated.
A strategy is a plan, or series of moves or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result. A strategy incorporates not only a plan, but also the practical resources and the people involved. As you will probably know, within our group of churches we have a Plan for the Future. And one of our core values in the Evenlode Vale churches is that that we strive to be a strategic church.
Now words like strategy and the Church of England are not often found in the same sentence. But they ought to be. For strategy is important and strategy is biblical.
Our Bible reading from 1 Chronicles (page 432) shows how King David had made plans for a new temple. By any stretch of the imagination, such a thing would have been a great undertaking. And what is fascinating about this account is that you see the interplay between God and David. In coming up with his plan for a new temple, it was not just David’s plan. David had clearly been guided by God’s Holy Spirit. In v12, it talks about ‘the plans that the Spirit had put in his mind’. It was God’s plan that he had put into David’s mind. It wasn’t something that David just dreamt up in the bath one night. It wasn’t something that he thought would make him look better on international stage. No, it was God’s plan. But God’s plan required David to be part of it.
You see, God is a planner. He has a plan for the salvation of mankind. We get a wonderful sense of that in Ephesians 1:11, where we read ‘ In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who worked so everything in conformity with the purpose of his will’. God is a planner, and it was God’s plan to build the temple. It was God’s plan that David should have a part to play in this. But interestingly, the part of David played was not the one he thought.
For the part that David was to play was not to actually build the temple, but to enable the provision of the resources. David part was to assemble the materials, and encourage others to contribute, so that somebody else could build the temple. But as any good strategist will know, the provisions, the materials, the resources, are an essential part of any plan. Not for nothing does the British Army have the Royal Logistics Corps. In any strategy in battle, the general needs to know that he has the resources, the ammunition, vehicles, food to achieve his battle plan.
And so in the plan of God to build the temple, provisions were needed. David gave substantial amounts of material and finance to the building of the temple. You can see all this in chapter 29. But it wasn’t just David alone. God’s people corporately contributed to the construction. As families and tribes and communities the people contributed. And it says that they gave willingly, freely and joyfully, not least because of the example that David had set.
Of course, it is no good having a plan, or the provisions, if you do not have the people to carry it out. God had made it clear that David’s task was to enable the provision of the necessary resources. God also made it clear that it was Solomon’s job to make it happen. But Solomon could not build it on his own. He needed skilled craftsmen, engineers, masons, decorators, labourers. Some of those skills had to be imported, some of the people involved came from outside the country. The king of Tyre sent an especially gifted at person to help (Huram-Abi 2 Chron 2:13). And you can read about the many people that Solomon involved in the second book of Chronicles.