Planning Pitfalls

My copy is a bit battered from the years and multiple readings.

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations,
if you live near him.”

J.R.R. Tolkien,
The Hobbit ( Ballantine Books, 1937, 1938, and 1966 ) p. 207.
This post relates to all planning but I have church planters in mind most particularly.
I love church planters because of what they are willing to attempt. It takes a call from God and a bit of courage to plant a church and I thank God for raising up young men who are willing to be both obedient and bold. There is an endless number of tasks connected to preaching the gospel in a new community and loving people for the sake of Christ. And because most of us are young* when we plant churches, we have far more enthusiasm than experience when it comes to planning. So I pass on this quote from Tolkien for two reasons:

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations,
if you live near him.”

  1. As an encouragement to planters to seek out counsel from “oldsters” not before you plan but before you launch your plans. Dream big, plan big, trust big, but get some respected leaders with more experience to take a look at your plans. Maybe ask them, “Could you take a look at my plans for X and give me three things to solve for so that what we are doing has the best chance for success?” (I.e. Let someone with experience identify any “live dragons” that you might not have accounted for.)
  2. Pray that pastors/leaders planting new churches would be wise and bold in all their work for the glory of Christ.

     *(One of my mentors was an exception to this general rule. He planted his last church at the age of 84!)

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