“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Matthew 7:24-27 (NKJV)
William Arthur Ward, inspirational writer wrote of the Four Steps to Achievement: Plan Purposefully, Prepare Prayerfully, Proceed Positively, Pursue Persistently.”
I have always been impressed with how people in the Bible planned strategically as they sought to carry out the mission of God:
· Moses appointed officials over the people of Israel and had them serve as judges.
· David planned and provided for the building of the temple and left everything needed for Solomon to complete the task.
· Nehemiah made careful preparation and plans for the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in order to restore security and self-esteem to the people of Israel after the Babylonian captivity.
· As the time approached for Jesus to complete his mission, he set his face like a flint toward Jerusalem. It was as if Christ had orchestrated the events of his final days on earth in order to accomplish God’s divine plan.
· The apostle Paul developed a missionary strategy of proclaiming the gospel and establishing churches in centres of commerce from which believers could take the gospel to outlying villages.
Throughout biblical history godly people have been strategic planners. Prayerful and thoughtful analysis and preparation are the keys in designing for success in the work of God. 2 Chronicles 27:6 tells us that, “Jotham became mighty because he prepared his ways before the Lord his God.”
Five phases of effective planning include:
(1) Analysis, which asks, “Where are we?”
(2) Vision, which asks, “Where are we going?”
(3) Planning, which asks, “How are we going to get there?”
(4) Funding, which asks, “How are we going to pay for it?” and
(5) Implementation, which asks, “How are we doing?”
The purpose of strategic planning for Christians is to create a set of priorities that enable us to act courageously and responsibly today to advance toward the future with a greater expression of God’s work in the world. It is an intentional effort to seek the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to discern the will of God as we move into the future.
My experience as a preacher is that the Holy Spirit often moves just as well in the quiet of my study as he does in the pulpit; there is no substitute for good planning and preparation. As Solomon once wrote, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV).
What area of your life or ministry do you need to be more strategic about?
Lord, help me not only to know what I’m to do, but give me the energy and will to do it strategically, faithfully, and persistently.
Study by Fraser Murdoch