September 26th 2007 1 comment so far
Knowing myself””and my friends will verify this understatement with a deep chuckle””this blog entry will simply be the first in a string of entries about our recent process of strategic planning.
The elders and staff from Stonebriar met last weekend for our first combined strategic planning retreat. As a new guy, I entered those two days with a mixed bag of emotions and hopes. I was comfortable with the concept of strategic planning. Been there, done that. Yet I wondered whether we were ready for such a process. Do we have the relationships, I wondered, that are strong enough to endure any initial disagreements about our priorities? Is our vision clear enough to create exciting steps towards the mark?
The answer was a resounding yes. God did, in fact, show up in several ways.
“¢ Our group breakouts were filled with thoughtful reflections. Sometimes we even broke into raucous laughter. Such joy is the fruit of the Spirit’s involvement. Only God can do that when he shows up.
“¢ We spent strategic times in prayer. I particularly appreciated one of our prayer sessions during which we confessed to God that we, as a congregational people, had failed to always pursue him with passion. Such prayer is the expression of the Father’s heart. Only God can do that when he shows up.
“¢ We focused on our new strategy, especially upon six stimulating environments that we will create in which people can connect and grow. Such determination is the pattern of Christ’s life. Only God can do that when he shows up.
“¢ By late Monday afternoon, God focused us onto three crucial areas of need for the next year (in the following order of importance): maximizing strategic service among all Stonebriar people, developing an area in which we will easily connect with new people (we’re calling it The Starting Place in our new worship building), and strengthening the adult fellowship groups so that people are engaged in their spiritual growth, service, and outreach. Such guidance is the gift of God’s blessing.
One of the things that surprised me like a cool wisp of air on a hot day was the intensity””and participation””in group prayer for our planning and church. I’m not sure why it grabbed my attention so graphically, but it did. I absolutely loved the amount of time we prayed, rather than debated. Without doubt, our final actions will move us into the future. But even more, our dependence upon prayer is the true step into the future.
You might be curious about the steps that actually brought us to the front door of this planning weekend. I’ll share some of that process in future blog entries.
Published by: Paul Utnage
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