Deconstructing Church Ministry (3): Prepared For Change

Agile software development is done in short “iterations,” sometimes as short as 1 week or as long as 1 month. Before every iteration, we would do planning just for that iteration with short, well-defined tasks. When an iteration is over, we will re-assess and evaluate where we go next. This is due to an understanding that the market and the customers’ minds change all the time. By doing short iterations, we actually anticipate and welcome changes, and we avoid planning for too big a chunk of work, and thus we can adapt to the ever-changing market and to an ever-changing world.

Do you sometimes hear people confess that he/she draws up a plan by himself/herself and then present it to God, only to regret it later because he/she should have instead went to God first to seek His will and plans for us? Unfortunately, whenever we plan, there’s often an aspect of planning in which we try to predict the future — something humans can never do. And that “future” in your plan would usually be a rosy “future” — no one would get sick, all the stars would align perfectly, and no tribulations would come our way. Interestingly, the Bible says that if we really aim to live godly lives, we would face persecutions (2 Timothy 3:12). But so far I have not heard of “expectation of persecution” being a part of any ministry plan.

James Richardson wrote an aphorism saying: “The man who sticks to his plan will become what he used to want to be.” Leonard Sweet, in his book “Summoned To Lead,” questions: “How often do the things we plan in life work out just the way we planned them? …… Have you ever gotten one day to go according to plan?” Then he goes on to suggest, “We need to stop worrying about planning and spend more time preparing.” We prepare by praying (Prov 19:21), by waiting, by being willing to be directed by God (Prov 16:9).

What would emphasizing preparedness over planning mean for you?

Stay tuned. We’ll wrap this up tomorrow with some examples.

Deconstructing Church Ministry (1): Lessons From Agile SW Development
Deconstructing Church Ministry (2): Corporate Discernment
Deconstructing Church Ministry (3): Prepared For Change
Deconstructing Church Ministry (4): Examples