While Christ-likeness involves so much more than simply modeling Jesus’ behavior, like also maintaining His attitudes and perspective, following His example certainly provides the patterns we need for all we do. Even in leadership tasks like strategic planning, we can learn much from Him. Let’s not merely study and conform to the ways of the world but rather maintain a Christ-like pattern for strategic planning.
An Example from Jesus That Provides a Christ-like Pattern for Strategic Planning
In both the feeding of the 4000 (Matt. 14:14-21) and the 5000 (Matt. 15:32-39) we can learn from Jesus as He engaged in strategic planning.
- Jesus observed a need. In both scenarios, the people had been with Jesus a long time and they didn’t have anything to eat.
So with us, strategic planning should be the result of seeking to meet a real need, not merely a felt need based on what other churches are doing or what we think would be a good idea. We don’t need yet another program with minimal eternal yield.
- Motivated by compassion for the people (Matt. 14:14; 15:32), He set a goal to meet that need, which required a plan for how to do it. While this provided opportunity to demonstrate His power, Jesus’ primary motivation stemmed back to His love for the people He came to seek and save.
So with us, we need to check our motivations to make sure we to do what we do in light of our primary purpose to love God and others, not merely to make a name for ourselves or pursue our agendas.
- Jesus then led His disciples in making an assessment, or analysis, of available resources. In both situations, they discovered only a small number of fish and loaves (five loaves, two fish – Matt. 14:17; seven loaves, a few small fish – Matt. 15:36). And, they needed to feed thousands (4000 and 5000) hungry men, as well as women and children also in attendance.
So with us, we should look at what resources we have available to meet the need whether that be tangible assets, finances, personnel, facilities, etc. Undoubtedly we will frequently find the need greater than our available resources.
- Jesus built a framework for implementing that goal, not inhibited by physical limitations. Though the disciples were ready to send the people away to fend for themselves, Jesus looked at all the options, including the exercise of His divine power. He had the people sit down, collected what resources there were, multiplied it, and had the disciples distribute it to the people. He followed a systematic, orderly process.
So with us, we need to be systematic and realistic but yet not limited to what is in front of us if we believe God wants us to meet the need. The resources we discovered in the assessment provide the starting point. With God leading the way, we look to Him to “do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20).
- Jesus monitored the outcome. While we don’t read of Jesus following up with a count, or measure, of the goal’s fulfillment, Scripture does record one. And in a later reference, Jesus pointed back to these two events so He was fully aware of the specific details of the outcome. — “Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?” (Matt. 16:9-10)
So with us, let’s track what God does in our midst and build upon it, always giving Him the glory.
May we do nothing in vain but always make the most of every opportunity (Eph. 5:15-16; Col. 4:5), seeking eternal good through His power (Jn. 15:5) as we strategically plan to meet the needs around us.