You know your purpose. You made an assessment of where you are in light of your purpose. Then you set some goals for accomplishing that purpose and started casting the vision. Now it is time for some strategic planning.
- What steps will you take to accomplish each goal?
- By what date should each step be accomplished?
- Who will be responsible for the various tasks within each step?
- What resources will be needed each step of the way (people, money, facilities, etc.)?
- How will you measure if the steps you are taking are leading to the accomplishment of the goals?
Steps Taken in Strategic PlanningSince our plans are made up of "steps" we will take, a look at Scripture using that word could be helpful to the planning process.
- Our steps must always line up with God's Word.
I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. (Ps. 119:59)
A brainstorming session could result in a list of ideas for accomplishing your goals. Good. Your first step for narrowing down that list is to examine each idea in light of God's Word. Though you might not find specific verses about each idea, you will find principles to guide you.
Remember verses like 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 -- "Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil." Against what do you test everything? -- God's Word. What defines the good you should hold on to and the evil you should avoid? -- God's Word.
We need a standard outside of ourselves against which to measure our plans, one that will be more reliable than our past experiences, more constant than our fluctuating feelings and ideals, and higher than our limited ways of thinking.
- Our steps must not simply follow the ways of the world or the latest church fad.
A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps. (Prov. 14:15)
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception. (Prov. 14:8)
Just because something seems to work doesn't mean it is the right or the best way to go. Plan in accordance with God's ways, regardless of appearances. If you don't, you might be deceived.
Just because everybody else is doing it doesn't mean you should do it. One size does not fit all. Plan in accordance with what God has given you. If you don't, you might be deceived.
- Our steps must be guided by God.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. (Prov. 16:9)
A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way? (Prov. 20:24)
God will use the planning process but don't be so arrogant as to think you know better than God. His ways are always higher. His ways are always right. His ways are always best. You cannot claim the "always" in being right and knowing best. Consequently, you must "trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes ..." (Prov. 3:5-7a)
- Our steps must be brought into pace with the Holy Spirit.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Gal. 5:25)
Planning skills not only include discerning the best steps to take but also the timing in which they should be accomplished. It is so easy for leaders to jump ahead of God or to lag behind. Problems are not always the result of bad ideas. The ideas could be right but the timing wrong.
How do we know the right timing? Only the Spirit knows the thoughts of God (1 Cor. 2:10-11). Yield to the Spirit in all you do and plan to do!
- Our steps might be marked by hardships for which we need Christ-like reactions.
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. (1 Pet. 2:21)
Not everyone will agree, though we might be 100% correct about the way to go. Sometimes the closer we get to God's ideals, the more the enemy will try to disrupt our plans. Christ-likeness needs to permeate the planning process if we are going to glorify God through it all.
Do you truly believe "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28)? If so, you will view the distractions, frustrations, and difficulties you encounter in the planning process as ways to better your plans, if they be of God, not to defeat them. With that kind of perspective comes Christ-like attitudes.
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