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In Praise of Preparation

Today, as I am at the office, the gentleman from Pro-Tec is checking and re-certifying the church fire extinguishers. He does this every year. And, it costs the church money. For years we went without this service. Then one day we looked and noticed our extinguishers had not been checked for over 10 years. Now, an interesting thing about this equipment is that it may never be used. That’s right, we are paying for something that may never actually be engaged in its intended purpose. In the past we were making a calculated risk, a gamble, willing to save some money and betting there would not be a need. Then the servant-leadership of the church discussed the matter and decided that was not smart. So we pay the money. Now, we do not buy everything he offers. I do not think every person in the congregation needs to have a personal little fire extinguisher, strapped to his belt and ready for action. I jest! But surely we want to be prepared, and believe that inspected and working fire safety equipment is a smart investment. Also, at this time, our musicians are practicing in the church sanctuary. The consensus of our congregation is that our pianist and organist do a great job. I very much appreciate how these ladies help to make worship so very good for us. An important ingredient is practice. On Wednesday mornings they go through the music together, working and coordinating to fine-tune the final products. So, what we experience on Sundays is the beautiful result of much effort.

Can you do church without forethought and preparation? Yes, especially if circumstances force spontaneity upon you. Crises come along, and unexpected things happen. “Always be ready…” is the admonition of 1 Peter 3:15. I’ve been to those churches where an announcement is made at the beginning of worship, “Y’all who want to come on up and sing in the choir!” No prep, no practice, just sing. I’ve also heard it announced, “Those who want to preach just line-up over here, have your Bibles open.” Spontaneity can be fun. But for the day-to-day operation of the church, being prepared in a godly thing. I have tried to let I Cor. 14:40 be my guide for ministry and church servant-leadership, “But all things must be done properly and in an orderly way.” We should give room for the leadership of the Holy Spirit in all matters. And we never want to “organize” the fun and human interaction out of anything. But God can work best when we are prepared. I am your pastor. And, I am your servant. See you Sunday, and call me anytime!

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