Strategy vs. Opportunity

Five years ago Mark and I created our “Master Plan” for church planting. We didn’t necessarily roll it out to the masses, but we were clear on the timeline, how things would happen, when we would launch a second campus, when we would move into more permanent situations, and how quickly we would hire full time staff. We talked in detail about the succession of hoops we would jump through in order to be a “successful” church plant.

Now all of that makes me hysterically laugh.

What I have learned in this process is that although a master strategy is essential to keep on the horizon of what you are doing, don’t count on God’s plan magically lining up with your plan. We have found that when God drops an opportunity into our laps, we have to manage that opportunity in spite of the bigger picture of what we thought would happen.

For instance, our current building was an unexpected and opportunistic situation. It was within our price range, in a great location, and the “flavor” we were looking for. So, we made a quick and major shift from our growth plan in order to accomodate that opportunity. Then, in spite of the fact that we wanted additional campuses, it just made more sense to use our building to the best of it’s ability and just add services. Now, here we are, four years into our church with a building we didn’t see coming and a Saturday night venue that has proven to be very effective.

Recently, we’ve had several new “opportunities” come into our picture that we are trying to figure out how to appropriately manage. It seems as if God is saying, “I’m going to give you the resources you need, in order to do what I want you to do, when I want you to do it. Don’t screw this up.” Again, cue the hysterical laughing…

As a planner, I’m not sure that I would choose the timing that God always seems to be working under, but I definitely would choose the outcome. His plans are greater than our plans and the adventure of not being able to ascertain what is coming is exhilarating.

We are simply managers of God-given opportunities. It is our responsibility to look at the people, finances, locations, etc. that He is laying out before us and figure out a way to leverage all of that to see lives changed by the love of Jesus.

So, have your strategies…I highly recommend them…but don’t be looking at your spreadsheets so closely that you miss the opportunities that are laid out before you.

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