Over years of working with churches and church leaders in a wide variety of denominations and networks, one thing that continues to amaze me is how many people view planning and spirituality as completely separate and even antithetical practices. On the one hand, some will say that planning is unspiritual, and as such, should be avoided; let the Spirit lead and what happens happens. On the other hand, some lean toward planning and forget to even attempt to engage in a posture of spiritual dependence on God.
As you might guess from my descriptions, I don’t hold with either of these perspectives. Rather, I suggest a cyclical process that involves:
- Listening to the Holy Spirit
- Creating a plan to act on what you are hearing
- Acting on that plan
- Reflecting on how it went
- Learning from those experiences
- Then back to listening to the Holy Spirit.
In short: Find out where God is working and join him there. How do you do this? Set aside regular time to reflect on your ministry and ask yourself, “What have we experienced? What are we learning? Where is God at work?” Listening prayer will give you a clearer sense of where God wants you to be focused. Let God reveal what that your ministry should look like. Make sure you’re following the daily guidance of the Spirit. Plan weekly and monthly time to ensure that you’re living that out and staying in balance. Take time periodically to reflect on wins and celebrate what God has done.
Get out your calendar now and create a weekly, monthly, and/or quarterly schedule that will work for you and your ministry to engage in action/reflection planning that helps you stay in step with the Holy Spirit.