Summary: n strategic planning we often forget the missing step of passion.

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John 4:35 – Jesus said, “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest?’ I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”

Zechariah 4:6 – “Not by might, nor by power but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”

As we plan for the future the organizational steps of strategic planning are helpful.

We need to study and know culture. We need to know church growth principles.

It is helpful to debate the homogeneous principle taught by Dr. Donald McGavran.

We should be committed to studying relevant and cutting edge methods and technology. Part of our strategy is finding out what the Holy Spirit is blessing and get in on it.

Often the missing step in strategic planning is PASSION. It is paramount that we don’t leave out the work of the Holy Spirit in our planning.

We constantly need to rekindle and renew our passion for lost people. We dare not lose our first love as we hunger and thirst after the newest church growth program out in the market place.

I agree with the authors of Marketing for Congregations by Norman Shawchuck, Philip Kotler, and Bruce Wrenn: “The best marketing plan in the world cannot compensate for spiritual lethargy or confusion, so that none are able to listen in the silent closets of the heart where God awaits to communicate with us. Nor can a marketing plan counterbalance a lack of vision.”

I would add, a marketing plan can not compensate for a lack of passion and love for people who are not yet members of the Family of God.

The Apostle Paul reminds us: “If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn’t love others, I would only be making a meaningless noise like a loud gong, or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love, I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.” I Cor. 13:1-3

If we are culturally relevant, but have not love, it profits us nothing. If we preach great sermons, but have not love, we are making noise like a loud gong. If we take mission trips and pay out tithe, but have not love, we are like clanging cymbals.

Tim Chester and Steve Timmis in their recent book, Total Church, A Radical Reshaping around Gospel and Community have a good word to say about passion: “Attendance at meetings, involvement in evangelism, an ability to handle the Bible, starting new initiatives, a reputation for being sound or radical, all of these, in and of themselves, indicate nothing unless they are a heart response to the deep, passionate love of God and emerge out of a deep, passionate love for God.” P. 204

Jesus said, “Look on the fields they are ripe unto harvest. John 4:35 - What is our response, “So what?” or “Who cares?” The farmer who planted the seed has great concern. He looks at his field with passion.

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