|Vol. 2, No. 4||Page 16||April 2000|
The Church’s Business Plan
Successful companies in the business world use strategic management to plan for success. The church should also plan for success by using God’s “business plan.”
From a managerial view, businesses develop a business plan containing the following elements: a mission statement, an assessment of the outside environment, a company profile, goals and objectives, and a five year plan to implement those goals. The church need not create such a plan because this plan has already been developed by the Chairman of the Board, God.
The church’s mission statement can be found in Ephesians 3:10, “To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” The church’s primary responsibility is the preaching of the Gospel and the doing of good works. It says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
God has assessed the outside environment for us. Ephesians 2:12 reads, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” The preaching of the Gospel is, by design, that which gives hope and places one in a right relationship with God.
A true company profile of the church can be obtained by a study of the New Testament church. We need only compare the church of the New Testament with the one where we are to assess its strengths and weaknesses. One of the more important strengths that must be developed in order for the church to perform its mission is that of the knowledge of God’s “manifold wisdom.” That is why God also established an “organizational chart” for the edification of the church. Ephesians 4:11 tells us, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” then tells us why in verse 13, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” These men are the earthen vessels that will “equip the saints” for the fulfillment of the church’s mission. The apostles and prophets were temporary (1 Corinthians 13:9-10), but we have their authority with us in the written Word. Evangelists, pastors and teachers continue this work today. This “organizational chart” is in order of time, not necessarily in order of authority.
The church’s goals and objectives, as given in Scripture, are threefold: the work of ministry, the edification of the body and growth of the body -- all to the glory of God. The work of ministry can best be described in the words of Paul to the Corinthian church:
“Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints” (2 Corinthians 8:1-4).This benevolence is described as a good work (Galatians 6:10), a fellowship when done to the saints (2 Corinthians 8:4) and spiritual sowing and reaping (2 Corinthians 9:6). Edification of the body occurs when brethren: attend the assembly (Hebrews 10:24-25), bear one another’s burdens (Romans 15:1-2) and teach sound doctrine (1 Corinthians 14:5-6). The edification of the body is similar to the sales meeting in the business world; it is designed to motivate brethren to do good works.
Growth of the body is a result of evangelism, the spreading of the good news of the Gospel, which is the essence of making known the “manifold wisdom of God.” For growth to occur, the church must plan for it, pray for it and take steps to make it happen. These steps are simple: Go and Preach (Mark 16:15). God has made us a promise concerning this preaching. He told us that preaching saves (1 Corinthians 1:21), that the Gospel contains his power (Romans 1:16) and that his Word will not return to him void (Isaiah 55:11). We must simply exercise his Word by preaching it to every creature we come into contact with. Growth results when every part of the church does its share in this work (Ephesians 4:16).
The last part of the business plan we will discuss is the Five Year Plan. Though this may have some bearing on the church, at least as far as the local church must reassess from time to time, our plan goes well beyond five years. In Revelation 2:10, we read how we must be faithful “until death” to receive the crown of life. The work of the church is not for five years, but until the end of the age. It is good to have a plan and the church must indeed plan in order to do God’s will. We need to plan to evangelize, plan to do good works, plan to edify the flock, plan to assemble, plan to give, and most importantly, plan to go to heaven. First John 5:13 says, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Jesus said, at the age of twelve, “Do you not know that
I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). We
must all be about our Father’s business.