I've heard a lot of discussion about "production versus heart." What I mean by that is the planning and excellence factor on one side of ministry versus the prayerful trust on the other side. If you haven't been in this kind of discussion, count yourself blessed. I really do believe it's one of the dumbest ways to waste time.
Unfortunately, I've been in a lot of these conversations. Some I've started and some I've been pulled into. It is true that people can get caught up in either extreme. However, I read a great quote recently by John MacArthur…
"Making sensible and careful plans for serving God does not conflict with reliance on His providence, and reliance on His providence does not excuse failure to plan."
That pretty much sums it up. God deserves well planned, organized, excellent production whether it's a main service, middle school service, vacation Bible school, or a simple small group Bible study. Failure to prepare, in my opinion, shows not only a lack of concern for the people we are leading but a lack of respect and honor to God and what He has entrusted to your leadership.
I've been so guilty of this in my short time in ministry. There are plenty of excuses I can give as to why I wasn't as prepared as I could be but they would be just that….excuses.
In terms of the heart, we must be careful not to take the reigns in these endeavors and fail to prepare our hearts and souls for God to move. Work for God without God is just work. It's easier for us to prepare physically. It's even easier for us to teach people how to prepare physically. But if we aren't in a place spiritually where God can impress His plans and leading on our hearts we've reached a point in work where we're operating in our own plans.
I once heard Francis Chan as the question…
"Did you really have an awesome service because God showed up or was it just good marketing?"
With the talent, gifts and technology available today, it's easy to slip into our own devices and produce great services without taking the time to invite God to move.
None of this is news of course but it's just what God is pressing on my heart these days. We need to strive to find the balance. Our plans and preparations should be done in an attitude of prayer. As Pastors and leaders, we should have already spent as much time as possible in Bible study and prayer before coming to our teams and volunteers to lead. Again, I'm as guilty as the next guy in failing to do this. That being said, I'm going to do what I can to no longer enter the silly discussion. More importantly I'm going to do all I can to be a leader of whom the discussion isn't applicable.