Strategic Planning for St. Paul’s

Apr 30, 2020 | Clergy Corner

What is God’s plan for your life? I envy folks who are so confident that they believe that
whatever happens to them, happens to be part of God’s plan. It must be remarkable to have
such faith. I have to confess that such confidence is a theological challenge for me. I do not
believe that whatever happens to me, or happens to you, happens to be part of God’s plan. I
don’t think of God as a micro-manager determining that today I will be in a car accident, or
tomorrow, I will fall in love, or next week, someone I love will die from the COVID-19 virus. I
think there is a random mystery to life, the depths of which we cannot fathom. Job learned that
lesson when he tried to figure out why bad things were happening to innocent people. I believe
that God gives us life and breath— hearts to love, and minds to think, and hands to serve, and
then God imbues us with radical freedom to be our better selves; and when we fail, God gives
us grace to be forgiven and invited to newness of life. Perhaps the gist of God’s plan for our
lives is to use our God-given freedom to live out the great commandment to love God with all
your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength and to love your
neighbor as yourself. The rest, as they say, are details. And yes, the devil can be in the details,
but so too is “the power of God working in us, to do infinitely more than we can ask or

As commissioned by the Vestry, St. Paul’s Strategic Planning Committee has spent many
hours working together with the Rev. Jim Hanisian to present, for the Vestry’s consideration, a
three year plan to help us strengthen and grow our ministry to love God and neighbor. It
involves three areas of concentration. Facilities, Financial Stewardship, and Personnel. Our
physical plant needs work to meet safety codes, be updated, and brought into ADA
compliance so that it can continue to best serve as a home for worship, fellowship, formation,
outreach, hospitality and community involvement. In order to improve our facilities, and
support our ministries, a comprehensive stewardship program needs to be implemented to
fund ongoing ministry, nurture new ministry, make capital improvements, and ensure future
ministry by encouraging Planned Giving and support for our Endowments. As we move into
the future, we need to strike a right balance of professional and support staff and a strong core
of volunteers that will ensure that the work of ministry can be supported at optimal strength.

This a good a plan. It is an ambitious plan. It is faithful to our mission statement. “Open
doors. Open Hearts. Open Hands.” I believe it builds on the good work of past generations,
and positions St. Paul’s for the growth we are likely to see as the population of Wilmington
grows. I ran across a Ziggy cartoon the other day with this caption: “Life’s a trip! But it doesn’t
come with a map.” We may not have a map, but we have a plan. Without a plan, we fail. With
a plan, and the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit by our side, we live into God’s plan for us
and thrive.

Ray Hanna
Interim Rector