“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD…”
God is a planner; He values efficiency. You can take the time to study it for yourself if you so desire, but the more you dig around, the more obvious it becomes. From Jeremiah 29:11 to statements from Jesus (see John 2:4) and Paul’s exhortations (see Ephesians 5:15-16), it is plainly evident that God works in ways that are thoughtfully considered and carefully executed, and He expects His people to do so, too. He has a plan, and He expects us to have plans too.
Some of us are better at this than others. Planning falls under the spiritual gift of administration, which is listed in 1 Corinthians 12:28. If you’re one who has that gift, then you’re either devouring this post because you love this sort of thing or ready to move on because you’re way beyond this level already. Either way, congratulations. For the rest of us, however, planning can be painful, tedious and mystifying because we aren’t that good at it, aren’t that interested in it, and may not understand how or why we need to do it.
Administratively gifted or not, if you’re going to call yourself a leader, you’d better pull it together and figure it out. It is virtually impossible to be a disciple who makes disciples without understanding at least a little bit about the administrative side of ministry. At a minimum, you need to know where you’re going, why you’re headed in that direction, and how you plan to travel (ministerially speaking). Here are five simple steps you can take to become an administrative genius in your ministry.
Step 1: Pray.
Yep, it always starts with prayer. The object isn’t to make plans and expect God to bless them, but to join yourself to what God is wanting to do and plan around that. This starts with humbling yourself before Him in prayer. Yes, seek His blessing, but first seek His will for your ministry.
Step 2: Set SMART goals.
A wise man once said, “aim at nothing and you’ll hit it every time” (Zig Ziglar). Goals are the target, but it isn’t enough to just lay out random objectives. You need to be wise about it. Make your goals SMART.
Specific—Goals need to be clearly defined, not vague. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to stay on course later. Like a rumble strip on the highway, specificity will keep you from drifting too far off the road.
Measurable—How will you know if your goal was met? What are the measurable outcomes you are trying to produce? It’s important to be able to answer those questions.
Attainable—It isn’t very practical to set goals you have no earthly way of reaching, nor is it always spiritual to set goals that require divine intervention. Yes, be ambitious. Yes, stretch the limits and set goals that will require you to lean on God. No, don’t be silly about it. Reason is a big part of good administration.
Relevant—Think carefully about what you’re trying to achieve. What does it matter if you achieve things that no one cares about? How tragic would it be to invest time and energy only to succeed at something that has no real value! How motivated will others be to pursue what doesn’t matter?
Time bound—Put your goals on a clock. This will be infinitely useful when planning. It will drive you to know what to do when and help you gauge progress.
Step 3: Make a plan.
In light of all the work you did to set your goals, this is how you answer the question of how you intend to reach them. You answered the what, now you move on to the how. Sit with your leaders and strategize your way to success. Your plan should be simple enough that everyone involved can understand it and detailed enough that everyone knows their role.
Step 4: Get moving.
Two frogs sat on a log and one decided to jump. How many frogs are on the log? Both, until one of them follows through on the decision! Get off the log. You set goals, you made a plan, now move. Someone wise once said, “Work unassigned is work unachieved.” Now is the time to assign labor, authority and resources to the people who will need it to carry out the plan, then launch them into action.
Step 5: Confirm and assess.
Circumstances change. What might have been a truly great goal yesterday might be truly irrelevant today. What might have been an inspired plan last week might be impossible today. That’s why it is important to take time out to evaluate your progress and your goals. Are they still valid, or is it time to make some adjustments? Wise administrators will revisit their goals regularly with an eye toward making any necessary revisions. This is healthy. It keeps you on task, on time, and on target, plus it is a healthy reminder to others of what you’re all about."Wise administrators will revisit their goals regularly with an eye toward making necessary revisions." -Jon Smith #collegiatedisciplemaker 5 Steps Toward Administrative Genius Click To Tweet
You Can Administrate
You don’t need the spiritual gift of administration to be an administrator. Obviously, it helps, but just like every Christian is responsible for sharing the gospel whether they have the gift of evangelism or not, so, too, does every leader need to understand a few basics in the area of administration. A little bit of organization can go a long way if you’ll just be methodical about it. You have the method, it’s time to put it to use. With the fall semester just around the corner, it’s time to get moving if you haven’t already. As the wise man says, “Fail to plan or plan to fail.” The choice is yours.