I don’t know about you, but in planning for my church, I often hope God will just download a course of action into my brain. Especially when I’m overwhelmed by life, I sometimes want to skip the journey and just have God magically show me what to do next.
In Exodus 18, Jethro observes his son-in-law Moses’s judicial administrative methods and then gives sage advice on delegation. The outcome was a much more efficient way of serving the people.
Have you ever wondered why God, who gave Moses such detailed instructions about things like the construction of the tabernacle and the keeping of the law, never instructed Moses on how he was to perform his role as judge in Israel? Why didn’t God just tell Moses that from the beginning?
I think one very important reason is God understands how influential he is. He does not intend the vast majority of our methods or systems to be considered sacred. So, even if he approves of them, he doesn’t endorse them. He does not want us to make an idol out of what is only meant to be helpful.
I believe, in our prayers for administrative wisdom, we should expect God to send us Jethros and not always some special revelation.
So, how do we learn to take responsibility to become strategic and wise in how we plan our time? I am going to share with you about a way to make an intentional plan for the next year.
To plan the best year possible, you have to think about the big rocks in your life first. Picture a large jar. If you have to fill it with sand and rocks, what will happen if you put the sand in first? The large rocks won’t fit. If you put the large rocks in first, the sand will slide in around them and you can fit it all in the jar.
The big rocks of our life and in our churches are things like:
Your own spiritual life
You can’t lead anyone where you are not going. We share the life we currently have in Jesus with those around us. If we are haggard, tired, and uninspired, we don’t have much to give and life with Jesus is not very attractive to those around us.
Your key relationships:
In our drive for ministry, we can put our marriages, families, and friendships to the side thinking we will catch up once the church grows or becomes more sustainable. The truth is you will never get that time back with your kids, spouse, or friends.
It’s important to take care of your body as you lead people. Sometimes we want to pray that God will heal us when what we actually need to do is go to sleep on time, eat better, and move more.
After these key rocks are in place, you can begin to consider the big rocks of your church.
Think about the larger areas of focus for your ministry. What does your church need to grow in right now? Are you trying to develop a leader in a specific ministry or invite more people to your services?
Once you decide what these big rocks are, you map them out into categories of what needs to be done yearly, quarterly, monthly, or weekly. Here are some examples:
Yearly or quarterly
- Spiritual Life: Pull away for solitude and prayer on a silent retreat.
- Relationships: Get away on vacation with your spouse without your kids. If you don’t have a lot of money for this, send your kids to a friends house and stay home.
- Health: Schedule your annual physical exam.
- Church: Hold 4-6 large events. Your main job as a church planter is to gather people!
- Spiritual: Engage in practices like fasting and having larger chunks of prayer time.
- Relationships: Have a date night out with your spouse.
- Health: Go on a hike.
- Church: Hold smaller social events like parties, potlucks, and other gatherings.
- Spiritual: Have daily time with God for prayer and worship.
- Relationships: Pray for your spouse and kids. Stay home with your spouse one night a week.
- Health: Plan healthy meals and get into a regular sleep routine.
- Church: Find a niche activity where you can meet and spend time with people outside of your church like a gym, bowling league, or book club. You’ll also need to develop weekly rhythms for preaching and discipleship. Don’t reinvent the wheel though. Borrow from what already exists.
In my experience, a church planter’s week should look something like:
- 20 hours of meeting with people
- 4 hours sermon prep
- 4 hours for your church service
- 12 hours for admin, planning, and events
There are no short-cuts to an intentional life. It may take you some time to build a plan for yourself and get it all onto your calendar, but then you’ll be on your way to a purposeful year that reflects your values and goals.
More Practical Resources for Planters
About the Author
Becca Knudsen serves as the Executive Pastor for the Mile High Vineyard. She oversees the logistical and tactical needs of the Mile High Vineyard. Becca has helped to establish more structure and systems in the church to allow for church growth and excellence. In 2014 Becca and her husband Chris planted the Northwest Vineyard where Becca served as pastor for three years.
Becca and her husband Chris, whom she met in middle school, were married in 2004. They have two children, Eloise and Soren.
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