Praying, Discerning and Deciding
Calvary Grace Church is faced with a decision to make by the end of June. We have to decide whether we will express ‘our intent to purchase’ the building which we currently rent. In this newsletter, I want to share a little bit about what the remaining timeline looks like as we seek to pray, discern and decide.
The first thing that we have to do is pray. As Psalm 27.8 says, “You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek”. That is why we have all been praying individually about this decision and about the overall mission of Calvary Grace. Many people are engaged in praying through the 25 day prayer calendar. As well there are the Prayer and Fasting prayer meetings, regular prayer meetings, and prayer times in community group gatherings. This praying is a humbling of ourselves before the Lord to seek his face. As I have witnessed, some of these prayer times have been seasons of personal and corporate soul-surgery--- real confession of sin, repentance and embrace of the pardon of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I praise God for glorifying himself in our prayers. And I think we have been assuming a proper posture in the process, ascribing highness to God and lowness to ourselves and our plans.
The second thing we need to do alongside of the praying is to discern. Discern what you ask? Discerning God’s will is the chief issue. That means we are not looking for secret knowledge, audible voices or writing in the sky, but it does mean that we look at the Scriptures, discerning whether a building, and owning a building can facilitate the advance of the gospel in Calgary and beyond. We also discern the prudence and wisdom of the opportunity. How much does it cost? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? Is this a good stewardship of our resources? In all of this we remember what Paul said: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12.2).
Part of that discernment is looking at where we have been so far. Over nine years our church as moved from being a house church, to paying for rental space in community centers, hotel ballrooms and church buildings. Knowing that the possibility of purchasing the building (or being likely forced to find a new space to rent) several church members have been tasked with looking at other church properties available to purchase or rent. Properties near the outskirts of the city are extremely expensive just for the land parcel, without including the cost of building a structure. Places like Rocky Mountain Calvary Chapel, a Catholic church in Inglewood, another Catholic church in Tuxedo and more have been explored. In each case, the prices were much higher than what St John was suggesting, yet none of the properties offered what the St John facility had. As an urban church building, the location, proximity to parking lots and street parking, along with the need for a Calgary-core church presence makes the St John’s facility more attractive than the other options that are currently available.
But as we try to be discerning we can get almost paralyzed. It’s helpful to consider the wise counsel of Kevin DeYoung from his great book, “Just Do Something” when he writes:
“... go marry someone, provided you're equally yoked and you actually like being with each other. Go get a job, provided it's not wicked. Go live somewhere in something with somebody or nobody. But put aside the passivity and the quest for complete fulfillment and the perfectionism and the preoccupation with the future, and for God's sake start making some decisions in your life. Don't wait for the liver-shiver. If you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you will be in God's will, so just go out and do something.” - Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God's Will.
We want to discern and decide, not be waiting for ‘liver-shivers’ as DeYoung calls them! There is a discernment process that has been going on. At the Members Meeting on June 19 we will share the final details of the ‘due diligence’ study being undertaken by Kevin Haller and Oly Ratzlaff. This includes building inspections and relative comparisons to other properties in price and amenities. Please pray for Kevin and Oly, as well as the Elders as we seek to pull this information together in a short period of time to assist our discernment. As James 1.5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
With the end of June fast approaching we will have to make a decision. St John’s is only asking us to express an ‘intent to purchase’ or not by the end of June. We don’t have to make a purchase offer. Basically we have to say whether we are interested at all or not.
The Elders have been praying, discerning and seeking to make a decision in this matter. While our process of "due diligence" is still ongoing, thus far, based on all of the investigations and evaluations of the St John property as a suitable tool for ministry, the Elders are of one mind about what we think Calvary Grace should do. Our view, pending the final results of the ongoing inspection of the building, is that we should express our intent to purchase the St John building. This is not yet the final decision of the elders, but it is the way we are leaning.
Since it is important for us all to make an informed decision, the Elders and church members will all look forward to learning more about the due diligence report at the Members Meeting on June 19. After that, but before the month is up, we will conduct a congregational review in which the Elders can discern whether there is broad support from our Gospel Partners for the proposed decision of the Elders. The aim of the process is that we would all come to one mind one way or another and move forward in unity.
- June 12 - Elder Q&A in Sunday School
- June 19 - Members Meeting with Due Diligence Report
- June 20-28 - Feedback Review
- June 29 - Prayer Meeting
- June 30 - Decision about Intent to Purchase Communicated to St John
- Late July-September? - A New Decision Required (Potentially): Negotiating a purchase offer (requires assessing whether or not we have the funds or can raise the funds to make a purchase offer).
- Ask questions in the meantime. Speak with Elders, talk with Kevin or Oly.
- The decision to be made by the end of June is only about the ‘intent to purchase’.
- There may be some negotiations with St John’s before the end of June to try to extend the deadline for making a purchase offer, or to try to come up with another solution that would suit their congregation and ours.
- Pray. Use the prayer calendar. Seek the Lord’s face. Search the Scriptures. Pray for the health of Calvary Grace and pray for the advance of the gospel in this lost city.
In all of this, let us not be bound with the chains of indecision. Let us trust the Lord and move forward with wise, yet humble confidence. As DeYoung says:
“The only chains God wants us to wear are the chains of righteousness--not the chains of hopeless subjectivism, not the shackles of risk-free living, not the fetters of horoscope decision making--just the chains befitting a bond servant of Christ Jesus. Die to self. Live for Christ. And then do what you want, and go where you want, for God's glory.” -Just Do Something
As we pray, discern and decide, let us remember that God has lead us this far and will lead us onward. Moses had to remind Israel of this: “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deut. 31.6 ESV). In a similar way, Jesus has promised to be with us himself saying, “be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28.20 NLT).
There is nothing more sure than the promise of our Saviour.