At The Planning Retreat: Discussing First Things First

Howard Hendricks offers some practical suggestions for evaluating local church ministry.

Preparing for a new church/school year can have a dizzying effect. One pastor, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, likened it to refurbishing a carousel: the horses are given a coat of paint, new bulbs are screwed into banks of flashing lights, the calliope pipes are retuned, and the tickettakers are given a quick course in how to run a merry-go-round. This is all done in anticipation of larger crowds who want a smooth ride and would appreciate getting off about where they got on.

As we pondered our friend's analogy, we were reminded that all across the country, clusters of local church leaders will be meeting in the next few days to put the finishing touches on plans for another church year. Some will meet in a retreat house or conference center; others will meet in the church basement or pastor's living room. Regardless of location, no meeting has more potential importance to the church than this one.

What will be discussed? What should be? How can the clergy and laity make sure that the coming ...

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