We’ve got a lot of ministries going on in my church. Preaching, worship team, children’s ministry, small group ministry, men’s ministry, women’s ministry, sound ministry, projection ministry, and, perhaps most importantly, the coffee ministry. We do a boat load of planning in all these ministries. All the different people involved work hard to figure out what songs to sing, what food to eat at the men’s breakfast, what music to play at the women’s breakfast, what new equipment is needed in the sound room, and what roast of coffee is the most tasty and the most cost effective.
And I’m all for planning. You can usually tell when something has just been thrown together. The first sign that things haven’t been planned well is when someone gets up on stage and says, “Well, I don’t really know what we’re going to do today, but we’re trusting the Spirit to guide us.” Planning is a good and necessary thing.
But sometimes we can be tempted to put way too much trust in our planning, at the expense of relying on the Holy Spirit. E.M. Bounds said:
What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men [and women, of course] whom the Holy Ghost can use – men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men – men of prayer.
Yes, we need to plan. Worship leaders, you need to plan. Small group leaders, plan your butts off. Preachers, map out those sermon series. But what we need the most – what I need the most – is the Holy Spirit. I need the Holy Spirit to move when I preach. I may have the best sermon, with the greatest points and illustrations, yet without the Spirit, it’s a big, fat nothing.