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Consider the differences between a plan, a process and the prophetic. I like strategic planning, but let me qualify that statement. I like strategic planning that:

  • Results in resolution.
  • Builds community.
  • Welcomes the presence of the Spirit.
  • Invites the godly counsel of wise men and women.
  • Stays focused, keeping the primary mission in mind.
  • Doesn’t get bogged down in questionable motives.

What I’ve discovered along the way is that we all live in a tension between being responsible and being responsive. All of us want to make sure that the decisions we arrive at (in council meetings, board meetings, committee meetings, staff meetings, etc.) build integrity and trust. We must keep important legal, accounting, governance and process issues in focus, while pursuing the prophetic word of the Lord!

But I’ve often wondered what would have happened had Jesus only left a five-year business plan, instead of lives changed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. I know strategy is vital, but I think it is more important to live strategically than to simply have a strategic plan. You can come up with a well-crafted plan, but in reality, it may not prove to be sound, spiritual or successful (2 Chronicles 25:1-11).

Proverbs 21:31 says that you can prepare a horse for battle, but victory belongs to the Lord. I strongly affirm that processes should take place that allow us to arrive at good, sound decisions—but I also am challenged by bureaucracy when it stifles, inhibits and thwarts getting out of the boat (Matthew 14:28) or climbing up a hill completely overmatched (1 Samuel 14) or doesn’t factor in the possibly of a cross or resurrection (Matthew 16:21-22).

May God grant us the courage and discernment to lead our churches and ministries with discipline, while not compromising our walk as disciples. May we choose to walk by faith and not by sight. It is better to be stretched than stuck!

Giving up wineskins doesn’t come easy, but it’s the only way to get new wine. Does somebody have a glass?

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” -Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

By: Glenn Burris Jr., general supervisor

served as the president of The Foursquare Church from 2009-2020.