Church Leadership
Why I Don’t Trust New Year’s Resolutions or 10-Year Plans
Innovation has more room to breathe when we’re operating within God’s seasons instead of on our schedules.

God doesn’t work on our calendar.

He created days, weeks, months, seasons and years. Those are real things.

People designed minutes, hours, decades and New Year’s Day on January 1. Those are made up things.

That’s why I don’t trust New Year’s resolutions or decade-long church plans.

What are the odds that God’s plans for my life, my church or my denomination will match our artificial calendar?

God’s Plans Seldom Start on January 1

For years I tried to do what I saw virtually every other church leader doing. I assessed my church one year at a time, starting new plans in January.

But reality kept interfering. I’d make a plan for January through December, convince myself and my congregation it was from the Lord, then God would speak something special into my heart in March. But I couldn’t implement it because I’d already told the church that God had spoken a plan for the calendar year.

How would it look if God changed his mind two-and-a-half months in?

That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to use the turn of the calendar to remind us about the need for planning, or to launch a fresh theme for an upcoming year. And there’s a lot to be said for the balance that comes with planning church events and preaching on an annual basis.

We need to avoid the temptation to add “God said it” to our ideas and schedules – as good as they may be.

But we need to avoid the temptation to add “God said it” to our ideas and schedules – as good as they may be.

We Have Ten Fingers and Toes – God Doesn’t

How many great movements in history lasted exactly a decade? A century? A millennium? Not one.

Yes, the Bible has the 10 Commandments and the 1,000 year reign of Jesus. And the number 40 is quite popular. But there are non-zero numbers everywhere. 3, 7 and 12 come up a lot, for instance.

The zero numbers occur in the Bible with about the frequency of a random draw. Not that God is random. He’s just not tied to our system of counting.

This upcoming generation is savvy and jaded. They’ve heard enough smooth promises to be as distrustful as I am about plans that seem too perfect, too ordered and too artificial.

So if God lays a 9-point plan on your heart, don’t feel the need to pad it up to 10. (Or to trim it back from 11). Just say what God lays on your heart and let him take care of the numbers.

Get On God’s Timetable

We need to be careful, in our zeal to plan and prepare, not to tie ourselves down to numbers that God may not be using.

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The views of the blogger do not necessarily reflect those of Christianity Today.

December 29, 2016 at 3:40 AM

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