Monday: Planning Together
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Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

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?

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Monday: Planning Together — 13 Comments

  1. Unfortunately, the text used in Monday’s lesson (1 Cor 14:40) has nothing to do with church planning but concerned Paul’s counsel to guard against confusion in church services. To me it would have been better to use a text such as Acts 13:1-3 where Barnabas and Paul were commission by the church at Antioch to be apostles and sent out to that work.

    In my opinion even using the Jerusalem council (Acts 15) would have been a better choice because the church came together to settle an issue involving evangelism and church growth. In these instances the church made decisions concerning it's outreach.

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    • Perhaps the person who chose the text and the ones who did the commenting weren't communicating? ;)

      The counsel to "let everything be done decently and in order" is actually relevant to the subject of planning, because it takes planning to create a church service that is worshipful and flows smoothly. We do a lot of planning in our daily lives and our businesses, but I wonder if we sometimes take church services so much for granted that little planning goes into them, and the same routine is followed week after week after week to the yawns of the congregation?

      Actually putting the principles of the lessons of this quarter into practice should change matters. We would have something to share in church, but for that to happen, those in charge of the services need to make room for sharing.

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      • You are absolutely right Sr. Inge...too much routine in church service and not enough time for powerful testimonies!

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    • I don't see anything "wrong" there. The confusion in church can be viewed in many dimensions. For instance, a church has scheduled a certain program say outreach, crusades, purchasing church items... and so forth, and in the long run it doesn't accomplish "even one" of its DREAMZ! Isn't that confusion? All the church needs to comprehend here is doing things in ORDERLY MANNER- Planing and achieving.

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  2. That's so true Inge, sometimes we find that it's always the same routine and church members get tired. I think that we as followers of Christ should be more involved and concerned in spiritual wellbeing of others. Our leaders also must allow the involvement of members in planning instead of doing all by themselves. The evangelistic mission is vast, the church needs to make dicissions not in part but in whole. That's where the text 1cor14:40 comes in Tyler, God loves oder, all must be done for His glory.

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  3. Perhaps what we may focus on is our overall planning on evangelism, since the task head is huge and little efforts done, even though we are working we seem to do little; simply because of planing "failing to plan, is planning to fail"

    However, there is one killer disease that is haunting us ; poor execution of planned activities regarding evangelism and/or limited members support. If planned well and carried out the plans Christ should have Returned to take us home. "The devil understands that id people of God relaxed a bit, they guarantee their destruction for certain" let us plan and execute.

    For me, the choice of verse can be seen as minor and focus on this, derail the awakening lesson of planning for our evangelistic campaigns to yield more success. What do we gain by commenting on verse choice pretty much without giving or sharing best planning strategies and execution??

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  4. Kisanga, I believe that part of the solution of the "killer disease" is failure to involve the membership in planning, as Angelina and the lesson itself suggested. If the members have little or no input, they don't "own" the plans and are not likely to buy into them in for the long term.

    When members are asked what they can do and/or are willing to do, and when they are asked what they believe to be the best plans, they are more likely to carry them out.

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    • We have a problem Anderson, love of many towards God driven activities is low, our men are having disease for Arsenal and Man-U and our women are all in fashion and soap operas; Children are not spared at all on cartoon network. Youths are lost and nowhere to be traced; people come to church on Sabbath as a formality.

      Even if we incorporate the concept of participatory planning, well, most members just won't tangibly get involved. This is out of experience. We need God to Revive us in this last days!!

      What do you think?

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  5. A few weeks ago I sat down with a lady on Sabbath afternoon at the church. We were to do a more in-depth study of the last weeks Sabbath School lesson. We ended up planning for corporate witnessing. Two things came out of that planning, no three. 1. What are we going to tell the other church members are the advantages of corporate witnessing over individual witnessing? We came up with 4 suggestions. 2. What do we do with these 4 reasons why church members should get involved with corporate witnessing? Option A. Ask the pastor if he can give us time to present it to the church. Option B. Take it the chairmen of the church outreach ministries committee. We chose option B. 3. In studying the lesson week after week, without sharing, we become 'dead'. As for 1 Corinthians 14:40, it is admonishing us to plan professionally. Professionalism comes with adequate planning.

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  6. It true in many churches many people say "why do we care?" It is because most of them are not involved in setting goals, planning and evaluating.
    I can clearly understand this point. As Mr. Tyler commented the early apostles planned in groups to determine the church goals. That is one of the examples we need to follow. “let everything be done decently and in order” though seems to be out of context (I Corinthians 14:40) We can always imply these text for anything that we do in the church because while planning together in a group, one can always expect some confusion come about. I as a pastor has experienced in this matter. In order to avoid such unpleasant situation right at the beginning of setting a goal and planning it necessary that people involved know for sure that “let everything be done decently and in order” God bless all the Readers

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  7. At our church planning is done every week. Elders meet every Thursday to plan for the coming Sabbath. Other departments meet at least once a month let alone the annual planning at the beginning of the year.
    Without planning it would be difficult to run a church and growth would be difficult to be achieved. Much as planning is the brain for every church, the Holy Spirit which fires up the members is the energy source for the church. Without Him the church would die and would be no growth and the role of the church would change completely .

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  8. I do not see any problem with few people making plans and setting goals but the issue arises when we do not want to participate in ensuring that such goals are achieved and plans are fulfilled.

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    • There's a reason why people do not participate in other people's plans -- and when only a few make the plans, they are the plans of the few, not the church body.

      The lesson is "right on" in suggesting to involve more people right from the start. It is also more in harmony with the priesthood of all believers understanding. And the bottom line is that it works, whereas a few making plans that they expect the many to execute generally does not work.

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