Following God’s Plan with Diligence
SPECIAL ANNUAL REPORT EDITION
Are you a detailed scheduler? Do you like to have every day planned? Do you even plan your vacation days and schedule what you will do each day? I laugh sometimes when I come across others who like to have everything planned out — to know and control what each day holds. For me, I find that I am forced to be a scheduler because of my work, but it naturally does not come easy for me.
There is something about that level of self-discipline that I struggle with. I have a tendency to be impulsive and distractible and to just “go with” things as they come about. However, I do realize that there is value in practicing good time management and being diligent in the plans I make. To be intentional, rather than impulsive, is an act of discipline.
The same is true in the plans we make for our lives and the way we seek God’s direction. Recently I was reading Proverbs 21, and verse 5 has stuck with me since that reading. This is what the NASB version says: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” These words remind us that we must be intentional and deliberate, seeking divine wisdom and direction to fulfill God’s plan for us and for our work and ministry.
I think these words must have been in the minds of those who founded the Baptist Orphanage as they answered the call to build the home in 1917. Inspired by a call issued across the state, three men in Carmi, Illinois, fervently prayed and planned to turn this call into a reality. How diligent they must have been to track across White County and eventually the state to gather the needed resources to begin this ministry. Today, we get to see the “advantage” or the “profit” of their diligence.
We now have the same responsibility as those faithful men had 100 years ago. Though it is not a world war or a severe flu epidemic that created the necessity to care for children in need, we continue to fight a war on our families and children. We continue to see the epidemic of sin destroying lives.
Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services completed 99 years of ministry in 2017 — an amazing accomplishment! Through the years, literally thousands of lives have been impacted by your ministry and by the Church taking on the responsibility of caring for those in need. The diligent plans and work 100 years ago have borne countless fruit in moving the kingdom forward; in protecting the most vulnerable; in creating an alternative to abortion; in uniting forever families through adoption; in strengthening families; and in caring for the orphaned, the abused, the neglected, and the behaviorally challenged.
Looking back at 2017, it was a whirlwind of a year. Iwas just getting familiar with this ministry and the needs our Illinois churches face when it comes to caring for families. I began the year just hoping to maintain, but the LORD had other plans. We saw some needed and some unexpected changes. Despite change, God’s provision was constant.
In 2017, you were able to touch 1,292 lives. What a blessing! To have a ministry whose impact was felt throughout the state is a testament to God’s work year after year. We added two new Pathways locations. We completed some needed renovations in our group homes. More importantly, we had 4 known professions of faith, and have had the opportunity to disciple many more in our care. Financially, we struggled with consistent cash flow. However, by the end of the year, the LORD met every need through our faithful sustainers and new givers, hundreds of churches, and many, many prayer warriors and volunteers. I am personally grateful to each one of you.
To create our own plans is not my goal; rather, it is to be diligent followers of God’s plan for BCHFS. I believe being diligent will continue to “lead to advantage.” Will you continue to engage with your ministry? The need and call is no different than it has been historically. We continue to rely solely on the benevolence of our brothers and sisters in Christ to fully fund the mission. The challenges are no different than they were 100 years ago. Our responsibility as the church is no different. Thank you for your prayers, support, and encouragement!