Our leadership team gets away for an annual retreat to pray and plan for each year. We bond as a team, pray for the women in our congregation and community, and seek God’s guidance as we plan for events. Some would say that it is best not to plan ahead, thinking it is better to go with the flow. Others over-plan and never, never…never deviate. Both extremes have their own benefits and shortcomings.
Paul exhibited both ends of the spectrum. He had short and long-term goals to take the gospel to different regions and at times to revisit areas he had already been (Acts 15:36; Rom. 1:13). He sent letters with specific instructions to churches and individuals. But, he was flexible enough to adjust his plans when he sensed God leading somewhere else (Acts 16:9-10).
So, what is a leadership team to do with these examples. Our goal as a leadership team is to fall somewhere in between. We look at the past years and evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Numbers attending are only a small part of the evaluation since we also need to recognize where God was working even if only a few women attended. We ask for input from the women who attend our congregation. Surveys may not give a good overview if the response is limited, but useful information can still be elicited. Finally, we evaluate new options and ideas gleaned from other churches and publications or websites.
In the end, we recognize that even the best plans will most likely be adjusted as the year goes along. We are only able to see with human eyes, and God alone knows what will happen in the coming months. Each new year brings new opportunities…to build relationships with God and other women, to help another individual to find hope, peace, and joy in Christ, to discover anew how much God loves us, etc. And that may come during a planned event or spontaneous encounter. God uses both…we need to be ready to respond.