Beware of SafetyIt is very hard to find success without some amount of planning. Successful leaders plan for very practical reasons: To identify opportunities, threats and challenges; to project resource needs; to communicate to subordinates; to convince others to invest, etc. These are all good reasons to plan; but they are not the best reason – particularly for the children of God.

Planning tools have been around for ages. There are complicated tools – that normally come with a business consultant to explain and apply them; and there are simple tools – like the one you will find here. The complexity (or simplicity) of the tool you should use depends on your business situation. Personally, I think it makes sense to start simple and introduce more as your needs require.

But, and this is my main point, before you start using any planning tool, you must change your mindset about their purpose and value in the kingdom of God. You can do this by first recognizing them as a tool God has provided for communicating with Him. Call it what it is: A communication tool. That’s right; whatever tool you use for planning, simple or complex, should now be used to facilitate conversation with the Master.

This change in perspective is key for the Christian leader; for how we plan reveals who is on the throne of our hearts. In the kingdoms of the world, human leaders are at the top of the planning pyramid. In the kingdom of God, God is at the top. He is the Master and King. You might even call him the CEO. Consequently, for Christian leaders, planning is more about listening and obeying; for we to be faithful stewards of all that God has entrusted to our care.

Imagine that you are a managing director in a large enterprise. You’ve heard rumors that the CEO has some lofty goals for this year – even some beyond imagination. The call comes from his executive assistant. You are to meet with him immediately. You hurry up to his office, walk in, and the first thing he says is, “How can I help you?”

What is the first thing you are going to ask him? Are you going to ask him for a raise? How about some time off? Of course, if you are wise, the first thing you are going to ask him about are the goals he has for this year. And you will likely find that he is eager to share them with you.

More than any human CEO, God wants you to know the goals He has for you, your company, and your spheres of influence. Ask and it will be given. Of course, the asking that we are talking about is prayer – prayerfully considering God’s goals for this season. Only the foolish would ignore the invitation to spend time with their Master and King.

Benefits of Planning God’s Way

God’s ways and thoughts are high above our own; and He has the resources to accomplish every good work that He has planned for us to walk in. Here are a few of the obvious benefits of planning God’s way:

  1. Training in practicing the presence of God: Because goals ultimately become daily tasks, humble surrender to God at the beginning of the planning process is a powerful way to enter into His will for every day of the year.
  2. A way of abiding in Jesus Christ (John 15:1-8): We can do nothing without Jesus Christ. So how do we become involved in what He is doing? We begin by asking Him and the Father what they want us to do – beginning with their goals for us.
  3. Taking no thought for tomorrow (Matthew 6:31-34): Planning God’s way is replacing our own thoughts, with His. When they are His, we can stop worrying about the success, because no purpose of God will be denied Him.
  4. A work of faith (Philippians 1:6): Planning God’s way is a demonstration of our faith that God has a purpose and plan for us; and that He can be trusted to accomplish it.
  5. An act of obedience: Obedience begins with hearing what God wants. Going to Him for His goals is the first step of obedience.
  6. Finding His life (Matthew 10:39): Giving up the desire for my goals in exchange for His is an act of losing my life to find His.
  7. Entering the narrow gate (Luke 13:24): Planning God’s way is not easy. We must strive to put aside the ways and thoughts of the world. We must strive to create the time necessary to hear.
  8. Gaining strategic advantage (Ephesians 1:15-23): Those that surrender to God’s planning process will come to “know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.”
  9. Confidence in the outcome (1John 5:14-15): Knowing God’s goals, we can pray for them knowing we will have what we pray.

Many will balk at planning God’s way; wondering how they will find the time. Honestly, it’s not about finding the time; it’s about wisely investing the time we have. For leaders in the kingdom of God, the best way to avoid wasting time is to know God’s goals and plans.

Do you believe that God wants you to know the goals He has for you? Do you want to know them? Then here is a simple guide for your communication with Him.

Communication Guide

All communication with God is best begun with surrender. So, take the time to surrender your business and/or spheres of influence to Him. Ask Him to search your heart for the areas where you are maintaining ownership. Repent – get off the throne. Commit to do whatever He commands. Then you will be prepared to hear His responses to the following questions.

  1. What are Your goals for the business(es) You have asked me to direct?
  2. What must be added (e.g., disciplines) or removed (e.g., habits) from my life for the success of these goals?
  3. What are Your goals for my personal and family life?
  4. What must be added (e.g., disciplines) or removed (e.g., habits) from my life for the success of these goals?
  5. What are the spiritual goals/disciplines You want to accomplish in my life?
  6. What must be added (e.g., disciplines) or removed (e.g., habits) from my life for the success of these goals?
  7. What are the goals You have that are beyond my imagination? What are the works You are planning that men will see and glorify you as God? How can I be a part of those good works?

Your pursuit of God’s answers to these seven questions will draw you into the center of His will.

The next step in the planning process involves meeting with God to begin breaking these goals down into tasks and calendar events. At some point you will want to involve significant others in the conversation. Remember, it’s all about leveraging these tools as communication aids. We will discuss this further in Managing Our Time God’s Way.