Saturday, June 18, 2011

Is There a Biblical Approach to Planning?

It occurs to me that I have been rather inactive here at the blog so I thought I should remedy that this morning! In my quiet time recently while studying the Old Testament, the thought crossed my mind: is there a biblical approach to planning? Common to both Exodus 4-6 and Joshua 1-3 is the fact that the key to success of both Moses and Joshua was spiritual rather than in their military skills. In Exodus, God tells Moses of His plans for the people of Israel to leave Egypt. Though Moses offered excuses why he was unable to do as God instructed, our Lord already had a plan and carrying it out was not optional.

Thus, in the mind of this seminarian, there is indeed a biblical approach to planning. Planning has a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of ministry. We see in Joshua 1-3 that the planning for Joshua to become the leader of the Israelites began before the death of Moses (Numbers 27:18; Deuteronomy 34:9). Once Joshua assumed command, he presented the objective (crossing the Jordan River in three days) to his officers and gave them instructions to prepare for the task ahead. The purpose was to take possession of the land God had promised. We see later in Joshua 3:5 instructed the people to consecrate themselves in preparation for the wonders the Lord would do among them the next day.

We see a clear objective laid out for the people. Goals were laid out to prepare to meet the objective. And then the process began as planned. Not surprisingly, the Lord does have His plans laid out for us! That plan includes the call to leadership. God chose Moses. God chose Joshua. They were the instruments to be used in the fulfillment of God’s divine plan for humanity and we are still talking about them today. My take-away from that aspect is this: when God calls obey and answer.

Telling an MBA that planning is a waste of time is likely to begin a lengthy discussion. In my own experience both in the secular world and in ministry, planning the activity is an ongoing process that continues even once something is begun. Without proper time devoted to planning, there can be no measureable goals. Without measureable goals, a standard cannot be established and used to measure performance. If performance cannot be measured, there is no way of determining if the standard is being met. How in the world can a process be undertaken without having made plans to allocate the resources needed to execute the plan? The way my brain is wired, planning is as second nature as breathing!

Additionally, I would argue that God is a planner! We see in Exodus 4-6 that God had plans for Israel that included Moses as their leader. We see in Joshua 1-3 that God’s plan for Israel would be fulfilled even after the death of Moses. Before this we see God had already planned on Joshua becoming the leader of Israel (Num. 27:18; Deut. 34:9) upon Moses’ death. If planning is important to God, it should be important to His children!

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