Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Last Words of David: Plans

If you read on from 1 Chronicles 28 into 2 Chronicles you realise there is a wealth of detail about the design and fitting of the new Temple and what it should be like. It had all been thought out carefully. If you are going to fulfil the dream that God has for you, then you are going to need a plan – and you will need to know how to implement it. I know leaders who are far more gifted than I am – I listen to them and they inspire me. They are great vision-casters, but if they tell me the same thing in a year’s time and there is still no indication that they have a plan to put that vision into being, then those who hear them will conclude that they are just blowing so much hot air. They have a dream but there is no ability to follow through.

Jim Collins, in his recent book Great by Choice – I would say this is a ‘must-read’ if you lead an organisation of any kind - when looking at leaders of most successful charities churches or businesses, says they had the ability to do two things at the same time. They could zoom out and keep a big picture and retain a strategic overview of what was really happening in their business (or family, or church) and then could be in a meeting where they are looking at the detail of what is going on and connect it to what is happening in the big picture. This will need repeated review. So here’s some good advice – make a plan, regularly review how it is being implemented, adjust accordingly and then take the next step.

Let me give an illustration from our marriage – across the summer, Deb and I read a book on marriage. (This has become a regular thing for us as part of investing in our marriage, that every year we read a helpful book and discuss it together. After 243 years we are still learning!) We read the book and at the end of it there were four or five pages with about 40 or 50 questions to answer so we took time over the summer to work through them. We looked at our use of time, our use of technology, when we pray together. We looked at each of our boys, how we handle money (monthly, annually, five year and twenty-five year plan), our love life, our in-laws (our parents are now in their mid-70s and we want to ensure that we care for and connect with them), we talked about holidays, our work places, careers, our house – detailed stuff! And details are important, in fact I spend most of my time at King’s, not in exciting vision-casting moments preaching to the people of God, but in detail meetings, one after the other, in order to work out how best to move the church forward - and I do the same detailed thinking at home. It is possible to get into a super-spiritual way of thinking – ‘relax, God will do it!’ – He will, but actually He requires us to engage, take responsibility and make a plan.