God’s Preferred Future

God’s preferred future”…what does that even mean? According to Andy Haskins, it’s the defining phrase of a church seeking a vision, but not just any vision, God’s vision…His preferred future for each individual church as they seek to align with His plan for their lives and community. Cove Run is seeking God’s preferred future, and it can be a bumpy, yet thrilling ride. Who doesn’t want to know God’s plan for their lives and church? Most Christians would admit that one of the most difficult issues they face is knowing God’s will for their lives. Most don’t even realize that God has a vision for their church, too! And it’s not just the pastor who needs to know it!
A.W. Tozer – a man I often quote in my sermons and blog posts – once said, “One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team.” And he was exactly right. This is a statement of vision, but in a negative sense. A church without a vision, who doesn’t understand God’s preferred future, is dead. That’s right, dead! And the statistics don’t lie. As I move through the Recalibrate initiative in our denomination, a staggering set of numbers have emerged. Somewhere between 80%-85% of Christian churches in America today are either dead or plateaued (a word that means “near death if something doesn’t change” in this context). Some denominations are affected more than others. The Free Methodist denomination in America is enjoying a mere 51% decline (note the intense sarcasm please), but the Body of Christ should be concerned for all denominations who belong to the pale of orthodoxy. Any decline is cause for reanalysis of what we’re doing, and clearly catering to the Millennial generation isn’t improving these numbers! Church growth movements being what they are – and I’m very cynical and suspicious in general about the secular motivations behind church growth – we’re in trouble, plain and simple.
Vision casting isn’t easy. As I write this, I am not wired to be a re-envisioning pastor. My temperament and personality, though given by God and He doesn’t make “mistakes”, don’t constitute the mix that the statisticians believe are the best for vision casting. And I’ll grant them that argument. But God does the impossible, does He not? With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible, right? I believe I read that somewhere once. God is also omniscient, meaning He knows not only what is our actual future, but also any number of possible futures that could occur provided our freewill choice in the matter. That’s why I love the phrase “preferred future.” God has a future that He would prefer, but being the loving God He is, He will never force or coerce us to follow that plan. However, His preferred future is absolutely the best possible future we could have, if we’re willing to shed our selfishness, our ideas, our numbers, and our desires to align with His future, not only for our lives but our church’s life as well!
Friends, beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, I believe with all my heart and soul that we’re on the precipice of a great awakening, possibly the greatest awakening ever seen in human history. Whether or not we’re in the end of the end time period or not, we’ve been living in the “end times” since Christ ascended to heaven over 2,000 years ago! If we truly believe that He can come back at any time, what would you rather be doing? Sulking in pity? Delving into despair? Or would you rather get up off your backside, stop deceiving yourselves by only hearing the Word, and get out there and do something for lost souls? That’s who the church is, what the church does, and what Jesus gave the church to be – a church with a vision, but not just any vision, not a human vision, but GOD’S PREFERRED FUTURE!
In Christ,
Pastor Branden T. Robertson