Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
One of the hardest failures that I faced as a pastor was moving into a large facility and having to break our lease because of the lack of finances. Words cannot describe how defeated and discouraged I felt. I had worked hard to not owe people anything, to pay my bills on time and to be an excellent tenant. However, because of a bad decision in the midst of an economic recession, I had to close the church and claim personal bankruptcy.
We were in a five-year lease and things went south within the first year. The following year, I earnestly tried many times to negotiate the lease. However, because the building owners were in over their head with the bank and there was nothing they could do for us, our church was on the line for close to half a million dollars. In the fall of 2012, our church had to break the lease and move back to our old building.
After this failure, I started to seek advice from Christian lawyers, pastors, accountants and local businessmen. They all could relate to the kind of situation I had faced. Each of them had advice to give me moving forward. Their advice could be summed up as the following; (1) Don’t look to move into a new building without a minimum of 3-6 months operational savings, (2) When looking for a new building raise all the monies first so you can know what you can afford and (3) Never sign your personal name as a financial guarantor to something you cannot afford to cover.
After learning these lessons the hard way I thought to myself, “If only I had this wisdom before I signed the lease for the building!” Then I realized, all these people were available before my mistake; all I had to do was get their advice beforehand and I could have saved myself all this hardship.
Thankfully, the leadership of the church forgave me and allowed me to re-start the church with the lessons I had learned. Moving forward I was quick to set up a stronger financial committee and we made safety measures to make sure we never got into that situation again. As of now, almost five years later, we have a church that is growing in ways we have never experienced, with strong leaders and a balanced budget that includes a growing savings account.
Concerning people trying to solve their own problems by themself, Abraham Lincoln said, “He who represents himself, has a fool for a client.” What things in life today do you need to seek counsel for from many advisors? Whether it’s buying a new home, strengthening your family, overcoming sin or saving for the future; be sure to make your plans with a godly counsel. Otherwise, you may have to learn the lesson through failure. Trust me, there are some lessons you’d rather learn through victory!
- Seek out three Christian advisors to have in your life.
- Before you make a big decision seek their counsel.
- Ask God to make you an advisor for people in their times of decision.