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Tuesday, September 24, 2013
An Administrative Miracle - Eleanor Shepherd
When I agreed to become the pastor of our congregation, I
knew there were going to be challenges to face.The lease was expiring on the place where we had been housed since we
sold our building five years ago.I am
not sure I realized what a complex process I was going to encounter.
year, our real estate agent had been searching for the right place for us.We knew it was unlikely that we would find
anything that would meet all of our criteria.We tend to dream big.However, we
finally settled on a place that we felt would meet the greatest number of our
wishes as the positives about it outweighed the negatives.So we began the negotiations to purchase this
the complexities of business real estate transactions and the bureaucracy of
being part of a hierarchical system where all important decisions are made at
the national office that operates in a different language than the regional
office and the city where I live.As a
result, I felt trapped in a morass of required forms and reports of various
types often provided in the vocabulary of the construction industry.Wow!Talk about feeling out of your depth.
feature of my situation was the team that gathered around me.Members of the property relocation committee
were led by the chief elder of the congregation.This man had a lot of experience in working through
property projects from his years in administration in our denomination.This
was a valuable asset.In addition we had
a close relationship with and support from the denominational leaders at both
the regional and national level.When I
did not know the answer to a question, which happened frequently, there was someone
I could ask, who if they did not know the answer could point me to the person
who might know.Nevertheless, the task
of all of the stress created by wading into this administrative forest was the
awareness that the lease terminated in nine months.Before then, we had to be able to finalize the purchase of
a building, hire the architects to redesign the interior, communicate to them
the programs that would operate in the building, oversee the construction
project, prepare for the move deciding what we would take and what we no longer
need and making the move.There was no
time to waste.
was the situation when the team from the congregation and the regional
directors met for a teleconference with the national office to try and assess
where we were in the process and how quickly we could proceed with the
necessary approvals so that we could move ahead with the purchase and
renovation of the new facilities.At
this meeting, it seemed like one barrier after another was uncovered.The estimation was that it would be
impossible to have clearance on this before the beginning of October.That meant only eight months would remain
before move day.To have a construction
project completed in that time frame would take a miracle.
we got a miracle, but it was not that one.At the end of our meeting, I prayed what is probably the most honest and
least polished prayer that I have ever offered publicly.I told the Lord that we were feeling totally
frustrated by our inability to accomplish what we needed to do in order to move
forward with this.We would have to
place everything in His hands, and while we would do our best to move things
forward we had to depend on Him to make things happen.
meeting took place early in August and during the next couple of weeks we saw
amazing things happen.The forms and
requirements were completed.The
contacts were made and everything was ready for presentation to the national
board for approval on August 21st.To us this was a miracle and a sign that what we were doing was truly
being divinely guided.It was the
assurance that I needed so I have the courage to move forward in these unknown
waters to accomplish all that needs to be done.
course, some might credit this to coincidence or chance.However, I choose to believe that God is
involved and hears and responds to honest prayers.