Contrary to what many Christians seem to think, the Bible is not against the notion of planning. Consider that God gave Moses very specific "plans" for the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 25-30). We know also that Nehemiah carefully planned before rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. And, clearly, Jesus gave his followers an orderly geographical plan to follow in taking the Good News of salvation to the world (Acts 1:8). Add to these incidents dozens of other similar biblical incidents, and it's clear that great works of God typically involve prayerful human preparation. Planning is not "unspiritual," nor does it "quench the Spirit." We need to remember that the same Holy Spirit we are hoping will "work" in lives at our meetings is the same Spirit who can help us structure IN ADVANCE the kinds of meetings where he will be able to work most powerfully!
When it comes to small group planning, many leaders seem to prefer to "fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants." Oftentimes this "wing it" approach is nothing more than disorganization and/or laziness disguised as "waiting on the Lord." Unfortunately, such a lack of planning almost always shows. Other small group leaders over-plan, obsessively fretting over every conceivable meeting detail and trying—it almost seems—to dictate the movement of the Holy Spirit. Neither approach is wise or God-honoring. The people we are serving deserve better, and God deserves our best, which means giving careful, prayerful consideration to what will take place each time our group gathers.
Here are 10 questions to keep in mind as you anticipate your next group meeting or activity:
1. Am I walking with God?
God uses clean instruments to do his best work (2 Timothy 2:20, 21). Those leaders who ...