Often, when it comes to the planning of witnessing and evangelism goals and strategies, only a very few people are involved. Then when plans have been decided, those few people set about the task of trying to get others involved in the implementation stages. It is much better to get a larger group involved right from the start. This is why the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual states that a chief concern of the church board is the work of planning and fostering evangelism in all of its phases.
What do Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 14:40 tell us about the need to plan? What does this verse suggest may be the results of a lack of, or inadequate, planning?
There are a number of mistakes that churches can make when considering their involvement in witnessing and evangelism. They can set goals but then neglect to introduce strategies necessary to reaching them; they can try to work on some strategies without setting any firm goals; or they can attempt either of the above without considering a process of evaluation. Goals and plans go hand in hand, but goals always come first so that plans that enable the goals to be reached can be laid. Furthermore, it is the process of evaluation that helps keep the church on track and measures progress toward its goals.
Every church should be aware of the concept of goal ownership. Those who set goals and are involved in strategic planning are typically the ones who buy into the whole direction and process. It is important, therefore, that as many people as possible have some input into all phases of the planning in order that they, too, have a sense of ownership. If this does not happen, then, most likely, the long-term plans will become the property of a select few who will struggle to fulfill those plans. In this case, success is unlikely.
Read Psalm 37. What assurance can we gain from this text in relation to the success of our witnessing and evangelism activities (as well as a host of other things)? What principles and promises can we take from this passage?