Written by The Entire Biblical Staff and Faculty Friday, 14 June 2013 14:29

After 27 years, Dr. David G. Dunbar is handing the reins of the presidency to Dr. Frank James on July 1, 2013. Dr. James will become Biblical’s fourth president.

Dave’s relationship with Biblical dates back to the school’s beginning. Having completed two years at Faith Seminary, he transferred to Biblical the year the school opened in 1971, graduating with the first class of nine students in 1972.

After earning his PhD at Drew University, he joined the faculty of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL in 1980. Six years later, he was invited to become president of Biblical, a school not yet accredited. In fact, the initial evaluation team from the Middle States Association advised Dave that Biblical was not prepared even to pursue accreditation. Their opinion was sobering: “It will take a miracle for Biblical to receive accreditation.”

Dave and the board of trustees accepted their assessment as a challenge from the Lord. Through hard work, determination, and consistent prayer, Biblical was accredited in March 1990!

Dave’s greatest contribution to Biblical and to the larger church has been his patient, persistent determination to help Biblical expand beyond its “Reformed fundamentalist” roots toward a generous orthodoxy. This shift has produced a community rich in diversity, on a trajectory of growth, and with a resolute focus on the missional heart of God. The percentage of female students at Biblical has more than tripled, and there has been dramatic growth among African-American, Asian, and Latino students. In addition, Biblical has added an urban location in North Philadelphia to complement the academic and residential campuses in Hatfield. (The residential campus was acquired in 1995.)

In the words of Dr. James, “Because of Dave’s leadership, Biblical is unlike any seminary I have ever known. Carolyn and I want to be a part of this.” On behalf of the board of trustees, faculty, staff, and the nearly 1,700 graduates, “Thank you, President Dunbar!”

Please leave a note for Dr. Dunbar in the comments section below.


Written by David Dunbar Wednesday, 12 June 2013 00:00

 I am not a movement kind of guy, whether we are talking about religious movements, or political movements, or . . . whatever. I have numerous reasons. 

  1.  I find that most movements attract a certain number of followers with wacky ideas.  These wacky ideas quickly get associated with the major tenets of the movement and subsequently attributed to all the followers. Count me out.
  2. Zealotry also becomes a problem. The cause advocated by the group tends to become all-important and all-consuming in a way that leads to excess.  Part of a healthy life (including a healthy spiritual life) is balance, and joining a movement is a strong encouragement to imbalance . . . not always, but you get my drift.
  3. One particular manifestation of this excess is the move toward certainty. Movements frequently develop cultures that drift increasingly from dialogue to dogmatism.  The opinions of the group are no longer debatable—they are affirmations of absolute truth which no right-thinking person would question. Those outside the movement frequently perceive this dogmatic stance as arrogance; however, for those inside, it is merely a deep commitment to that which self-evidently the TRUTH.
  4. Certainty leads easily to the assumption that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who know the TRUTH of the movement and those who don’t; those who are right and those who are wrong; those who care and those who don’t; etc. In other words, there is frequently a lack of nuance.
  5. The previous characteristics contribute to a further dynamic which is the reason for this blog.  I would call it “circling the wagons.”  This is a defensive maneuver frequently deployed anytime a representative of the movement comes under criticism, even if the criticism is one not directly related to the tenets of the group. The psychology of this response seems to be something like this:  Any member of our group is obviously on the side of the angels—they surely see and adhere to the TRUTH as do we. Therefore, it is highly unlikely--not impossible perhaps--but HIGHLY unlikely that any criticism of our ideas, character, or behavior has any merit.  It may in fact be just an effort by the opposition to destroy the credibility of our movement.

This brings me to the recent response of some high profile Neo-Reformed leaders to the civil case filed against Sovereign Grace Ministries and a number of its leaders, particularly C.J. Mahaney a founder and until recently president of the denomination.  The civil suit alleges a pattern of abuse, including some cases of child sexual abuse, endemic to SGM churches. Much of the abuse is alleged to have occurred in connection with Covenant Life Church in Gaitherburg, Maryland, where Mahaney served as senior pastor for 27 years. Key SGM leaders, including Mahaney, have been charged with covering up the problems. The civil case was recently dismissed on the grounds that under Maryland’s statute of limitations nine of the eleven plaintiffs waited too long to report the alleged abuse; the remaining two cases were dismissed because they centered in another state.  The court’s decision is under appeal. It may also be followed by a criminal suit.

Now for those of you who haven’t been following the story and don’t know the players, C.J. Mahaney is a passionate preacher and a council member of the Neo-Reformed group called “The Gospel Coalition.” He is also one of the four founding members of “Together for the Gospel”—another arm of the Reformed movement.  Over the last year pressure has mounted on both organizations to offer some comment on the SGM suit and the alleged involvement of Mahaney.  Both groups released statements following the dismissal of the civil suit. (You can read them here and here.)

The statements expressed support for Mahaney and generally read the dismissal of the civil suit as a vindication of SGM and their friend.  This prompted a storm of protest in the blog world where both statements were seen as attempts to whitewash a deeply dysfunctional church culture. Boz Tchvidjian, the founder of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) has written powerfully about the silence of evangelical leaders regarding the case and the lack of concern evidenced in these statements for those who have been victimized for years. 

My concern in this blog is to explore the way in which “movement thinking” may have negatively impacted the statements of T4G and The Gospel Coalition. I should first say that both responses build off the authors’ deep friendship with C.J. Mahaney. It is appropriate that friends should stand by one another, especially in times of distress, loss, and opposition. What sort of friend would not do this? On the other hand, those we love can make mistakes--sometimes appalling mistakes, and if they do, even friends need to ask hard questions. 

Did Mahaney’s friends ask the hard questions?  I don’t know. They did remain silent publicly until the lawsuit was dismissed. And unfortunately, now that they have spoken, the statements come off as highly biased and even misleading. Consider this statement from “Together for the Gospel”: 

A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry. No such accusation of direct wrongdoing was ever made against C. J. Mahaney. Instead, he was charged with founding a ministry and for teaching doctrines and principles that are held to be true by vast millions of American evangelicals.1 For this reason, we, along with many others, refused to step away from C. J. in any way. 

This is a strange interpretation, since Mahaney has been accused in the lawsuit of failure to report child sexual abuse and conspiracy to cover up the crimes.  He was not charged with “founding a ministry and for teaching doctrines and principles that are held to be true by vast millions of American evangelicals.” This awkward statement suggests that Mahaney is being persecuted for simply doing what good Christian leaders do—plant churches and teach the truth. Is the point that because he has done these good things, he cannot have done what the plaintiffs allege? I am confused. 

The statement from The Gospel Coalition is more nuanced, but still tendentious. The authors point out that the suit was a civil rather than a criminal case. They leave us with the impression that the plaintiffs may be concerned more with money than with justice:  “And note that this was a civil suit, not a criminal complaint. While they [the plaintiffs] certainly believe crimes were committed, this lawsuit itself was only seeking monetary damages.” It is difficult not to read this as a variation of a “blame-the-victim” argument, although I don’t think that was the intention. 

The authors express the opinion that “the entire legal strategy was dependent on a theory of conspiracy that was more hearsay than anything like reasonable demonstration of culpability.” Of course “hearsay” comes close to suggesting that most of this disturbing case is just mean-spirited gossip by disaffected church members. 

But perhaps most troubling is the default to the secular courts to decide whether this case merited further consideration:  “We deemed it wiser to let an impartial judge rule on whether the case should be considered, making a determination based on all the facts available.” The authors believe that discerning the truth is ultimately impossible:  “Can anyone say with certainty who is innocent and who is guilty in these multiple allegations spanning several decades?” Well, no, not with certainty, but how about with probability? Are there not highly competent Christians trained to recognize and deal with various types of abuse who could and would give help to SGM to sort out this mess?  And wouldn’t it be good for the friends of C.J. Mahaney to advocate for a transparent audit of SGM by an independent Christian agency? 

At this point, none of his friends have asked for such an audit. This seems more than a case of friends supporting friends. The movement is speaking. The wagons have circled.

1. Some time after the initial posting, this paragraph was changed.  The two sentences I have italicized were replaced by the sentence:  “We believe this lawsuit failed that test.”

Dave Dunbar is president of Biblical Seminary. He has been married to Sharon for (almost) 44 years. They have four grown children and seven grandchildren.


Written by Kyuboem Lee Friday, 07 June 2013 00:00

Often, I find myself preaching to the choir with regard to urban mission--these folks don’t need convincing that urban mission is an important and urgent agenda item for the Church and we need to do all we can to learn about urban mission if the Church is to be faithful to God’s mission.

But others will need more convincing. “I won’t be moving into the city to live and minister there; my role is a pastor in a suburban church or a small town context. Why should I care about urban mission? My plate is overflowing as it is.” I will try to speak to them through this series of blog posts. If you are the choir, perhaps you will find these posts useful as points of apologetics for urban mission. (You can find the first post, “Reason #1: It’s an Urban World After All,” here.)

This second post focuses on the phenomenon of globalization. There has been a growing attention given to globalization recently, especially in the area of economics. The term refers to a growing interconnectedness of the various regions around the globe, as well as to a growing global consciousness that we do, indeed, live in one world, not many. The cities around the world have been the engines that have driven globalization as well as the primary contexts in which it has taken place. Indeed, world-class cities such as New York, London, and Tokyo have been dubbed “global cities” to highlight their importance to globalization. Follow the huge sums of money rapidly flowing to and from these cities around the clock and you will see how these cities function as the central nodes in the vast and intricate global economic network.

But globalization is not only a movement of money. It is also a movement of cultures, peoples, ideas, and religions, from everywhere to everywhere.

Philadelphia’s Italian Market neighborhood was so named because it was populated by Italian immigrants. You can see the locale in the movie “Rocky” as that iconic albeit fictional Philadelphian runs through the neighborhood as a part of his training for the big fight. If Sylvester Stallone ran through Italian Market today, however, he would notice that those giving him high-fives will far more prominently feature Asians, Hispanics, and other ethnicities than those of Italian heritage. The many languages he would hear on its streets would include Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese, in addition to Philadelphia’s distinct variation on the English language. The food items and other cultural goods being traded in the market stalls will reflect this multi-ethnic diversity. Buddhist temples have sprung up next to Catholic Churches who are finding they now minister mainly to South Americans.

What you are witnessing in this relatively small urban neighborhood is the astonishing pace of globalization taking place in the world’s cities. The globe, with all its multi-various languages, ethnicities, and religions, is being concentrated into a few square blocks of a city. Essentially the same process is occurring in thousands upon thousands of urban neighborhoods around the world.

Consequently, the city has become mission’s new frontier. Of course, this is really not all that new, since cities have been the Church’s missionary destinations from the days of Paul. It can similarly be argued that globalization has always been with us (see, for instance, Marco Polo). What is new is that the recent acceleration and rise of globalization has forced the Church to reassess its missionary strategy in terms of the city.

Much can be said in this regard, but let me just point out this: Jesus has commanded his disciples to go into all the world, but in his sovereignty he has brought all the world to the city. During the great modern missionary movement, the North American churches have sent missionaries to all corners of the world; now, they need to redirect their efforts and send missionaries to its cities in order to reach the world. Better, the churches need to re-imagine how they may once again become God’s missionary people among the nations—literally—who are coming to their cities.

These are amazing opportunities for the kingdom emerging in the cities today that the Church simply must not miss. Glimpses of the missional possibilities come from stories of work being done among immigrants who now call US cities their home. By reaching the immigrants, Christians have been able to not only gain openings Stateside but also successfully reach communities in the immigrants’ homelands halfway around the world with the gospel.

Again, we are reminded that cities are nodes in the global network that is ever growing in its depth and breadth. When the gospel finds meaningful connections in these nodes, there are global redemptive ripple effects. Think of the thrilling global missional possibilities when churches and individual Christians who form them re-envision their mission in light of the ever more urgent task of reaching the cities for Christ.

Dr. Kyuboem Lee serves as a lecturer of Urban Mission at Biblical Seminary. He is the founding pastor of Germantown Hope Community Church in Philadelphia, and the General Editor for the Journal of Urban Mission (http://jofum.com).


Written by Susan Disston Wednesday, 05 June 2013 00:00

Biblical Seminary’s doctor of ministry program is welcoming twenty-two students to campus in early June for Dr. Larry Anderson’s Leading Missional Communities course. Many of these students are halfway through their programs and are engaged in planning—and sometimes—implementing their applied research projects.

The planning process of the applied research project is key to its overall quality and its ability to provide insightful conclusions and recommendations to pastors and ministry leaders facing similar challenges. Sometimes these projects are so well planned and implemented that they are published. Recent DMin graduate, Paul Dunbar ’07, gave me his project in book form last week. Paul was the primary author of the book, along with co-author, Anthony Blair (PhD and DMin), president of Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown (Pennsylvania) who served as Paul’s project advisor.

Their book is Leading Missional Change: Move Your Congregation from Resistant to Re-Energized (Wipf and Stock, 2013). Through case studies from their ministries, other church leaders, and the New Testament, the authors engage the reasons why many congregations resist change and what forms the resistance takes. From there they discuss the role of trust/mistrust in any change process. They argue that an environment of trust must be nurtured within local congregations prior to and during the change process. When an environment of trust has been established, people may be more open to embrace missional change.

To explore the relationship between trust levels and readiness for change, Paul developed a Congregational Trust Survey. He used in the survey to discover if there were “any correlations between levels of trust and mistrust in a congregation and the growth patterns of those churches over the previous decade.” (p. 16) Thirty-one congregations across the United States participated in the study. The research confirmed a correlation: congregations with high levels of trust were less resistant to change.

The survey was designed so that church leaders could use it as one of several tools to assess trust levels in their congregations, and, by implication, their readiness for change. The authors discuss the behaviors that contribute to mistrust and provide guidance for church leaders who experience resistance from their congregations, even when people know that missional change is critical for the health of their church.

Church leaders are likely to find that this book challenges their leadership practices while giving them concrete ways to advance their leadership skills for missional change. The authors’ first-hand experience with pastoral leadership and change contribute to its authenticity and value for local church leaders. The photo above was taken at Paul’s church sometime after an important missional change was embraced by the congregation. I blogged about it here.

Susan Disston, DMin, is the assistant dean of curriculum and assessment at Biblical Seminary. http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/adjunct-faculty-theology


Written by Charles Zimmerman Monday, 03 June 2013 00:00

Where have they gone & where are they now? 

This month I continue with updates on some graduates of Biblical Seminary.  This month we visit with David Bossard, a 1982 MDiv graduate.  I don’t remember David as a student, I didn’t arrive until he was gone, but I have gotten to know him because we frequent the same fitness center.  David keeps the IBRI website updated and functional.  If you want to know how many hits and from what countries, he is your man. 

1.       What years did you attend at Biblical, and what degree did you receive? 

Attended Biblical 1975-1982. Graduated with M. Div. The first two years my wife and I went to the evening school, then I switched to daytime student. 

Previous degrees: B.Sc (Physics) Drexel 1962; A.M. (Physics) Dartmouth 1964; A.M. (Mathematics) Dartmouth 1966; Ph. D. Dartmouth (Mathematics) 1967. While at Drexel, I also attended evening school at Philadelphia. School of the Bible at 18th and Arch Streets. Nearly, but not quite, completed the studies there. 

2.       What have you been doing since then?   

1967-1982 Associate & Vice President, Daniel H. Wagner, Associates. 1982-1995 President, DCBossard, Inc.

Always active in our local church. Raised 7 children including 5 adopted. Now have something like 9 grandchildren. Each year we take our RV and visit some of them, as well as other close friends we have garnered over the years.  

My main work over the past 20 years has been on several websites: ibri.org (Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute), which has contributions of many, including Biblical Faculty; 19centuryscience.org, a largely secular repository of 19th century books in geology and related subjects; and 19thpsalm.org, which is my personal understanding of the Creation Narrative as given in Science and in the Bible. In particular, macraelib.ibri.org is a large repository of many personal papers of Dr. MacRae, including many syllabi and papers beginning with his graduate days and extending throughout his life. I would also point to almost 200 powerpoint lectures by Bob Newman on all sorts of subjects. The ibri.org website enjoys a remarkable amount of traffic worldwide. 

3.       Tell a favorite memory from your Biblical days.

Enjoyed all classes. I was especially impressed by the scholarship of the professors who defended the Bible in issues of Science and Faith: Allan MacRae, Bob Newman, and Bob Dunzweiler (not to diminish the lustre of the other faculty!). The systematic theology courses of Bob Dunzweiler are fondly remembered, and I wonder if anything of equal caliber has been available since his time. I recall a "debate" about baptism in Bob Dunzweiler's class. He sat there with a Cheshire Cat grin as the class overwhelmingly concluded in favor of baptism by immersion, which was not his position as a presbyterian (Some papers by him on the subject can be found on the IBRI.org website -- See Robert J. Dunzweiler, Understanding the Bible, Chapter 13 -- "Baptism: A Consideration of the Scriptural Mode"). 

4.       Contact information: email, Facebook, etc. - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Charles Zimmerman is the Thomas V. Taylor Professor of Practical Theology.  He also serves as Teaching Pastor at Calvary Church in Souderton.  He is married to Kim and they have two daughters, Ashley and Megan.





Written by Bryan Maier Wednesday, 29 May 2013 00:00

This may seem like a strange question. Obviously, the Woodworking and First Aid Merit badges would be easy for him.  Joining the “Order of the Arrow” would not present much of a struggle either. Jesus had plenty of service hours and his ordeal was 40 days! Finally, who could imagine a more magnificent Eagle project than rebuilding the temple in three days (pardon all the inside scouting lingo).  But of course, the requirements for advancement in scouting would never be the problem for Jesus. The potential problem would be the proposed change in membership requirements.

For those of you who are not up on the issue, The Boy Scouts of America have had a policy since their inception over a century ago that no openly gay boy can be a part of scouts. Nor can any openly gay man be a leader in scouts.  Recently, there has been an incredible amount of political and financial pressure on the Scouts to revise this requirement (a few private organizations and many local governments have withdrawn their support).  Over the last year, surveys were sent to every parent of current scouts seeking to solicit the view of those who had already committed to the scouting experience for their son. I received and completed one of these surveys. Some of you may get them too.

Not only does the survey solicit my opinion on the issue of allowing self-professed gays into scouting, but it also asks whether I would withdraw my son from the Boy Scouts if the decision does not go my way.  This is a tough question for me. Overall, my boys have had a wonderful experience with scouting. If being missional permeates my whole life (and it should), what impact, if any should my view of God as a missional God play into my answers to the survey? 

I will not share my answers with you but the issues are much more complex that one may first think. There is a lot I could say, but I will settle on 10 points that need to be considered.  Not all of my points lean the same way. 

  1. The Boy Scouts are not a church. True, when Boy Scouts was founded, Protestant Christianity enjoyed the home court advantage in both England and the United States. However, according to the handbook, no religion is given preference and each religion has its own merit badge. Since it is not a church, should the issue of gay scouts be that big of a deal?
  2. Again, when Boy Scouts were founded, the gay lobby was pretty much non-existent. Thus the pressure to lower the age at which someone declares their life-long sexual orientation was not present.   Probably many boys with various levels of same sex attraction have joined scouts; they just have not self-identified as homosexual until after reaching adulthood (if ever).
  3. The Boy Scouts are a private organization, free to construct their own membership requirements. I teach at a similar private organization where every year I have to sign a contract promising to abide by the behavioral standards outlined in the handbook. If I falsify my position, or renege on my word, it is grounds for dismissal.  
  4. It must be admitted, sadly, that the traditional membership requirements for the Boy Scouts has not guaranteed the sexual safety of scouts. Boy scouts have suffered sexual abuse and assault from each other and from their leaders as documented by recent reports. However, the awareness and reporting procedures for current scouting is much more rigid and many policies have been implemented to prevent sexual activity as much as possible. Currently, every parent has to read and sign a 20 page booklet about sexual safety. Leaders have even stricter standards. I have witnessed the strict adherence to these standards in my boy’s troops.
  5. The standard ages for Boy Scouts are 12-18. During this time, most boys (and girls) go through a time of experimentation with many things. Is it therefore even possible to say that a 13 year old boy could be irreversibly identified as gay?  What if he identifies as gay at 13 (and is refused membership in Scouts) but by 14 no longer self-indentifies as gay? Should he be allowed in Scouts then? Likewise what about the boy who develops feelings of same-sex attraction while in Scouting? Should he confess these feelings to his scout leader or just wait another year to see if his feelings change again?
  6. Likewise, there are different levels of same-sex attraction. For some it is merely experimentation. Others might refer to themselves as still trying to discover their sexual orientation. Still others may claim to be bi-sexual, while others may fully identify with the gay lifestyle.  And at each level there are those who are ambivalent about their feelings of same sex attraction. Who then counts as “gay” when considering membership into the Boy Scouts?
  7. Some boys have successfully completed their Eagle projects and then declared that they were gay all during their scouting experience. While this may demonstrate that being gay may or may not interfere with the scouting experience, it does seem to violate the scout law which clearly states that a scout is “honest”. Knowing the membership requirements and lying about them is hard to construe as honest.
  8. Because Boy Scouts are losing support, their main institutional support now comes from churches (many of whom may have a problem with allowing gay members or leaders). If these churches withdraw their support because of changes in membership requirements, it could mean the end of scouting.   Likewise, if enough parents take their boys out of scouting because of the change in membership requirements, it could be the end of scouting.  
  9. Do I want my 12 and 14 year old sons in a tent or changing clothes in front of an 18 year old girl? If not, why would I feel comfortable with them sharing a tent with an 18 year old boy who has already made it known that he considers himself to be gay? Likewise, would I want my son to go camping with a leader who has identified himself as gay?
  10. As a Christian, should I let my moral standards serve as a litmus test for any organization that I (or my sons) join? What about a sports team or a chess club or the city council? Is the Boy Scouts any different?

Hopefully, you can see the thorny issues involved. Is the kingdom of God at risk whether the Boy Scouts dissolve or thrive? Of course not. God will still be on a mission. We must remember this as the culture turns more and more against Christianity which no longer enjoys home court advantage.  By the way, it appears that the decision for now (starting next year) will be that boys who see themselves as gay will be allowed to join Scouts. However, potential leaders who identify as gay will still be excluded from leadership.  Is this an acceptable compromise? What do you think?


Written by Dan LaValla Monday, 27 May 2013 00:00

It is interesting to observe attitudes and listen to comments from pastors and church leaders with respect o how churches should approach and utilize strategic planning and numbers in a church context. Thomas S. Rainer’s March 4thblog post is very relevant to this topic, which he titled, “Ten Rules of Thumb for Healthy Churches” (http://thomrainer.com/2013/03/04/ten-rules-of-thumb-for-healthy-churches/). Here, he writes, “Using rules of thumb to guage church health is problematic because they are, well, rules of thumb. There will always be exceptions, extenuating circumstances, and even disagreements on the right metrics….Please let wisdom prevail.” Ironically, the same day he posted this piece, in response to a reader’s post outside of the states, he admittedly changed his title to “Ten Rules of Thumb for Healthy Churches in America.”

A personal friend who is a leader in his church recently said to me with respect to the declining numbers in his church, “Looking at the numbers (attendance and giving) is not a healthy way of managing or growing a church; it is important that we keep our eyes on the Lord to see what He is doing and discern if we are doing what He wants us to be doing.” Personally, being a numbers guy, I thought to myself in an unspiritual manner, “Yeah, a good way to keep your church on the decline it to keep your head in the sand and ignore the numbers until your church has to close its doors one day.” Instead, I replied with a much more compassionate tone, “While it can be unspiritual to look to numbers in a selfish manner or in a way that puffs up pride and provides a means of confidence independent of who we are in God (much like King David in 1 Chronicles 21 when he took the census of Israel), looking at numbers to help make a strategic decision and devise a plan of action can also be a wise thing to do (as Jesus commends the King who counts his troops before going to war against another king in Luke 14:31-32 as a metaphor for illustrating the importance to counting the cost of becoming a disciple of Jesus before one decides to go down such a path).

So here are four guiding principles from Proverbs that should be kept in mind with respect to strategic planning and tracking numbers in the context of managing a church or parachurch organization:

  1. In a missional context, the emphasis is on discerning God’s mission for your church or parachurch organization and what its role is in fulfilling God’s mission within its specific context. See the importance of discerning God’s Spirit in my earlier post “When God Interrupts Your Day” http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/faculty-blog/96-regular-content/600-when-god-interrupts-your-day. Proverbs 16:3 highlight this point, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.”
  2. While it is true that while people have the ability to make their plans, and the Lord has the final say to approve or thwart such plans (Proverbs 16:1). This does not mean that we should not plan! Proverbs 14:22 tells us that planning does facilitate results, “Those who plot evil will go astray, just as those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness (Proverbs 14:22).
  3. While it is important to establish strategic plans and work to achieve the goals laid out in these plans, people must be willing to be flexible and adjust such plans in response to what God is doing as Proverbs 16:9 states, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord directs their steps.”
  4. In the management of churches and parachurch organizations, leaders should not use numbers as a means of selfish gain or defining personal success, failure, or prestige; rather, as a means of discerning the health of one’s church or parachurch in relation to God’s calling. As Proverbs 16:2 states, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”

Dan LaValla is Director of Library Services and Development Associate at Biblical. He is Chair of the Endowment Committee for the American Theological Library Association; he serves as vice chair of the Ministry Board and chair of the Missions Committee of First Baptist Church in Lansdale. He is very active in his community, coaching youth baseball and football and has served on several community boards. See also http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/daniel-lavalla.


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