Why Churches Plan

The God of the universe made you in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27).

Please let that sink in for a moment.

Because of that unique position and calling we were simultaneously given privileges and responsibilities like no other aspect of God’s created world. Chimpanzees don’t build skyscrapers and fish don’t plant churches; only God’s image-bearers do things like that.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told His followers, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).  The entire context revolves around planning and living in such a way that our watching world would have a better understanding of what God is like.  Fundamentally, that is what it means to glorify God—to give others a better understanding of Him.

Yet consider what would happen if a person walked inside the average church and asked a series of simple questions:

  1. What is this church specifically planning to accomplish in the next year, three years, or five years?
  2. What are the ten to twenty specific plans that have been accomplished by this body of believers in the last twelve months?
  3. If I bring my family and associated resources to this church, what assurance would we have that those gifts, abilities, and treasures would be stewarded well?
  4. If God chose to bless this church financially in an unusual way this Sunday, do you have unmet plans and dreams that could be accomplished?

In other words, do people have a better understanding of the nature of God as a result of watching the way the average church functions?  Or is it possible that the haphazard and unorganized way we sometimes (frequently?) live and do ministry leads others to the powerful, though misguided, conclusion that God must not have His act together because His people surely don’t?

We carry the imprint of a sovereign God who plans. When we make plans to spread God’s glory and humbly submit them to His will, we’re honoring our God’s methods. We’re showing the world a glimpse of what our Father in heaven is like so that they too can glorify Him.

That’s why Faith is embarking on a strategic planning process this year.

Over the next few months, we’re going to be gathering input from the congregation and community, praying and seeking God’s wisdom regarding the direction that He would have us go in the coming years. This year, we’re “Planning to Grow,” trusting that God has already planned to display His glory in Lafayette, and He wants us to join Him!

Steve Viars
Dr. Viars has served as a pastor and counselor at Faith since 1987. He is an author, national speaker, and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Biblical Counseling Coalition.