As a guy who preaches and teaches God’s word for a living, it is nice - and necessary for my soul - to be learning things that are just for me, stuff I never share with anyone not because I don’t want to, but because it’s from God to me. I’m going to let you in on a little journey with Moses and Israel, and how it speaks into our process of “becoming St. Bartholomew’s.”
As Lent and Holy Week gave way to Easter, I followed the lectionary through the book of Exodus and have now moved into Numbers. It is fascinating to see the intentional and archetypal correspondences with the Hebrew’s Exodus from Egypt and our Exodus from sin and death by way of Jesus, the passover lamb.
Not only have I been enriched by this resonance, but I’ve noticed some similarities between our church and the people of Israel, especially in our process of becoming St. Bartholomew’s. No, we’re not being delivered from slavery in our transition from parish of All Saints to planted church - far from it. But, like the nation of Israel, we are becoming a people. God is taking us through different growth experiences and challenges that will form us as the people he’s calling us to be for East Dallas and beyond.
More than these examples, though, I identify with Moses. Put simply, Moses was the spiritual leader of God’s people. And, God has put me in a place of spiritual leadership to serve you all - the people who are becoming St. Bartholomew’s.
We are being called to take ownership of our budget, our day-to-day and month-to-month expenses, and accounts receivable and payable. Until now, All Saints Dallas has graciously provided these services for us at a high level of competency and with great generosity. And though our contributions in our fiscal year to date have been well ahead of budget, when our new fiscal year begins on July 1 we will have even more financial responsibility. All Saints Dallas will continue to provide a subsidy for the first half of the new fiscal year as we continue to grow and are able to fully own our monthly expenses. And God will use us to provide the rest.
We are being called to take ownership of our own governance and leadership. That means a group of St. Bartholomew’s people will oversee our budget, bylaws, financial controls, and other administrative functions of the church. It doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but it means so much to have local people leading our local church. I’m thrilled to see God bring this to pass.
You and I both know how Israel’s wandering in the desert ended - the whole generation that left Egypt did not get enter the promised land because “God was not pleased with them.” They tested him, demanded their cravings be satisfied, and ran after false gods at the worst moments. Even Moses, their venerable, prophetic and godly leader would not be allowed to enter the promised land but only see it from atop Mt. Nebo.
But along the way, any time they had a need and Moses cried out, God answered. He is so good. Here is another moment from my prayers today, Psalm 9:10: “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee; for thou, Lord, hast never failed them that seek thee.”
St. Bartholomew’s is God’s church, it is his vision, and he will provide for it. He is calling us to walk together in this new season as we become St. Bartholomew’s, to love him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.