Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Crunching the Numbers

This is Part 5 of a behind the scenes look at the development of National Community Church's "From Garden to City" Bible reading plan. It's step-by-step through our process of developing our church-wide reading plan with the hopes that there are some transferable principles. Today, we talk about crunching the numbers for the finalized plan.

Crunching the numbers. That's where the process got ridiculous for us. Where we ripped our clothes, put ashes on our heads, and wore sackcloth. I exaggerate a bit. But only a bit.

What do you do when the plan looks perfect, and then you realize it requires a week of reading five chapters in Jeremiah a day? Or you've got ten days to cover a shorter thirteen-chapter book? For those members of the team that believed losing your salvation is possible, it came close. For those who embrace a more Reformed view of eternal security, it made us question those views as we felt ourselves teetering on the edge.

The crunching the numbers phase only lasted a couple of days, but it was a grueling few days. And we made the Protege on the team do the majority of the dirty work. It's a matter of taking the books, a calendar, a calculator, and dividing up the reading. The process really was as "simple" as that. Just dividing it out. We found we needed to make a few adjustments. We made some arbitrary decisions about where to put certain parts of the book of Psalms.

After we crunched the numbers, we put the whole plan into an excel spreadsheet and sent that to a few of our most trusted Bible study leaders. We asked them to review the whole thing to make sure we didn't leave out any 1) books or 2) chapters. That was important because we discovered we left out the last chapter of one book. At least we didn't leave out any books. Like Romans. That would have been a bummer.

Despite by dreary comments about this part of the process, I've got to recognize the sovereignty of God. It's amazing the way He worked in and through the whole ordeal. Some decisions that we thought were arbitrary prove now to be divinely led and inspired. And I think that's the key thing to realize and request when you are creating your own reading plan. Seek God hard about the plan he wants you to develop and the way he wants your congregation to uniquely engage his word. He is faithful.

The next step was developing resources to supplement the reading...


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