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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Be prepared

'Chance favors only the prepared mind' Louis Pasteur

In author Garrison Keillor’s fabled Lake Wobegon, all the children are “above average.” A similar conclusion is reached by leaders of organizations when asked to evaluate their planning: “Oh, a tad above 50/50.”

Given such so-so results, should planning even be attempted? You probably suspect our answer, “By all means.” But with the focus on the who and what of planning, not just how

Who? At the risk of advocating the obvious, planning begins and ends with God and God’s will for the church. When church folk plan, we aren’t about “maximizing, seizing, positioning, controlling, eliminating uncertainty or optimizing.”

Rather, we’re concerned about opening up to God’s leading us. “Are we ready?” is a better question than “How can we propel ourselves forward?” Proverbs has it right: “The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps” (16:9).


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