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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Planning, thinking it through

by Nelson Roth
When I was in high school, I really got into mechanical drawing which was one of the required industrial arts classes at the time.  I enjoyed drawing architectural plans to scale.  So much so, that I thought about pursuing architecture as my life’s career.

Well, a long story short, God’s call for my life was ministry, not architecture.  I’m glad about that;  and, I am also glad I learned the importance of good planning back in the 60’s.  Architecture is the preparation of plans.  The process of planning helps us to think things through and makes outcomes possible.  Buildings exits and don’t fall down because of advanced planning.  In much the same way planning is an important part of life and ministry. 

Last month, Pam and I wrote about vision.  This month, our writing theme is planning.  Vision is about where you are going. Plans are how we are going to get where we are going!

Planning is an important part and one of the responses in what we are calling an incubation stage in the Nehemiah Response Model TM.  Before we take action, we must plan and set goals.  Planning comes after getting God’s vision and before moving forward.  Planning is an important step.  We may become anxious.  We may get the itch to move, but waiting for the plans to come together is necessary.

God sets the example for us in planning.  Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 1 Corinthians 14:33, 40 “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” 

How do you put a plan together?  The vision that we have will be just a dream until we make plans.  Those plans make the way to the vision tangible.

Here are some interesting components of planning from verses in Nehemiah chapter 2:

  • (:1) Continue to be faithful in your current work while making future plans.  Nehemiah was loyal to his current responsibilities while he was praying and planning for the future.
  • (:2) Wait patiently for the right time to share what is on your heart.  God opened the door for Nehemiah when the King initiated by asking the question, "Why does your face look so sad?"  Hebrews 6:12, “...imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what was promised.”
  • (:3) When asked, share your heart with confidence.  Planning during the incubation stage gave confidence to Nehemiah.
  • (:4) When the door of opportunity opens, rely on God.  Nehemiah’s quick prayer was not to ask God what to say, but to ask for help, in the moment, to say all that was already in his heart.  Nehemiah had something to say because he had been seeking God and thinking things through.  
  • (:5) Wins happen when opportunity and preparation meet.  For more than a hundred days Nehemiah had been praying and planning, the two are good go-togethers that help facilitate the intersection of opportunity and preparation.

From Nehemiah’s continued conversation with the King we learn three important questions to answer while in the planning process:

  • (:6) How long will it take?  What is the timeline for your plan and goals?
  • (:7) How can you prepare for and overcome possible difficulty, danger, or misunderstanding?  What obstacles stand between you and your vision?  (:9-10)
  • (:8) What are your needs and will you ask for what you need to fulfill the vision?  Nehemiah knew what he needed both for the project and for himself because he had thought things through.

Are you in a time of planning?  Like an architect makes plans for a home, your plans will serve as the tool to help you reach your goals.

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