There’s a battle in the world of church leadership.
On one side are our friends that schedule their Sunday services, down to the minute, on Planning Center.
On the other side are those who prefer to trust the Holy Spirit and don’t want to reduce a church service to a well orchestrated, 65-minute experience.
And it’s not just an issue for church services; it’s a core issue for the church itself.
For some, a ministry plan and a proforma make good business sense. And for others, organizing the church pushes out the Holy Spirit.
Do good planning and trust in the Holy Spirit cancel each other out?
We say no.
Can you rely on God and make plans at the same time. We say yes!
And here's why.
#1 – Planning is God-given skill and a spiritual gift.
In Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, Paul includes administration in a list of spiritual gifts. It’s on the same list as preaching, teaching, and evangelizing. Paul goes on to say people with these gifts are appointed.
God has given certain people on this earth a gift to make sure things get done. Just as God gifts pastors with the ability to teach, listen, and counsel others. He gives others the ability to nurture.
God actually uses planning for His glory.
In Acts 6, people with the gift of administration helped the church work through an issue that could have divided the church. In fact, that passage illustrations the need for both prayer and planning.
Plan your services, plan your calendar, and plan your next year. Trust God every step of the way, not just in the moment.
#2 – God had a plan (and still does).
God’s Sovereignty is evident on each page of Scripture.
Creation, every sacrifice and offering, Moses, Joshua, and Jesus…all were a part of God’s plan to redeem humanity.
Proverbs 16:3 says:
“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
It doesn’t say “sit on your butt, and your plans will be established.”
What does committing your work to the Lord look like? Pursuing excellence, planning ahead, following through with those plans to the best of our abilities. And as we pray and seek counsel in His Word, God will honor that and make His plans evident to us.
#3 – Plans aren’t permanent.
Ultimately, the church is about changing lives. To share the gospel with others. So they spend eternity with Christ and not separated from Him.
Planning is important, but leave room for change.
Once you’ve created your plan, through your time in prayer, studying, and seeking–God will most likely change your direction. And that’s okay (and encouraged).
Tweaking your sermon series is easier than having to come up with a whole new message and you’re drawing a blank.
Changing the pre-service game for the kid’s ministry is easier than making something up on the spot.
Having a plan with help the Spirit lead you. Without one, He’s just picking up the slack for You.
This tension between planning and trust? Don’t try to resolve it. If you do, you’ll probably resolve it in error. Instead, embrace the tension. Plan and pray. Build your strategy and build your faith.
Take a Next Step
You can get our one page ministry plan template (along with a separate version for each ministry and an annual calendar template to tie it all together) here.
The templates are a part of a 3-module course called “Creating an Annual Plan.” It also comes with coaching that explains every step of the process. You, your staff, or your key leaders can use this course to create a growth plan for the coming year.
You and your team could watch the training videos to lead up to your own annual retreat.