The Baker Blog
Pastor Mike Baker Of Eastview Christian Church 2017
Strategy and the sovereignty of God

So, I’ve spent much of the last month writing a strategy for our church that extends from 2016 well into 2026.  Actually this strategy has been in the making for the past 6-8 months via many prayers, staff conversations, planning retreats, budget considerations, number crunching, staff and volunteer input, Holy Spirit nudges, biblical inspiration, timely interactions and experiences, and more prayer.  Honestly, since God is always moving and moving his people, ideas and potential actions are unending.  Still, I am called yearly to present to the other elders of Eastview a plan for what we are going to do to accomplish our vision.  

Some people wonder why we need a strategy.  If God is sovereign and his will is going to be done and his church is going to prevail; do we really need to come up with a plan for how to accomplish it all?  Not to mention there are millions of things we don’t know as we make plans for the future (like if this is the last day of the world or our lives, for instance).  Here’s my biblical conclusion.  In a way that we can’t understand, the God of the universe will advance his kingdom and by his choice he uses the strategies of his people to do so.  In other words, God could make it all happen without us and our plans and our strategies, but he doesn’t.  Here are some strategy lessons I’ve learned along the way.

1.  Tell God that we know our limitations and can’t do it without his help.  Solomon, one of the greatest builders of all time, says this, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain” Psalm 127:1 KJV.  In other words, no matter how smart you are, or how well you plan, or how prepared you may be.  You will not accomplish anything for God without God doing the work.  Remember, it’s his house you are building and not yours.  This should help guide what you think about your building ability.

2.  Admit we don’t know what the future holds.   Strategies naturally talk about what we will do with our resources of time, people, and facilities over the course of the next several years.  The problem is that we don’t know what the next several years (or hours for that matter) may hold.  So, we should not write strategies of what we are going to do.  “Instead you ought to say, ‘if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:15).   This means that strategies are always written in pencil, because you’re going to have to erase as circumstances, challenges and new opportunities arise.

3.  Expect the Holy Spirit to guide us.  The goal in every strategy that we write around here, is to be able to present it with a confident “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” Acts 15:28.  All through the process of strategic planning, we absolutely trust that as we try to accomplish God’s will in God’s church through God’s people, that God’s spirit will absolutely be involved.  We credit great ideas and consensus among leaders as signs that the Holy Spirit is leading us.  Conversely, we have witnessed times where we have wrestled with great ideas that simply fell to the wayside.  Why?  Because the Holy Spirit didn’t endorse it.  

4.  Pray what you believe.  Finally, we believe that a strategic plan causes us to pray harder for things we articulate by faith.  When we write something on paper that we believe God can do and wants to do through us; we tend to seek his power to accomplish it.  It may sound crazy, but as I look back over the last nine years of plans.  Most of them have either come to pass or have exceeded our expectations.  Why?  I believe that we asked God to do what only he can do, believing we were following his Spirit.  

So, I submit another plan…and I can’t wait to see what God does to bring it about.

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