Good ideas need more than enthusiasm to be put into practice. It is easy to rush into new activities. The co-ordinating team needs to think carefully about what activities are planned, how to support this work, who will be needed, where to find the necessary training and resources, when action will begin and how to report back regularly to the church.

If a church lacks money to pay for equipment or training, consider working in partnership with another church with more resources. This could be located in a large town or city, or in another country. Building up a strong relationship can help encourage and challenge both churches.

Involve representatives of the people who will benefit from the work at all stages of planning. Good planning will encourage people’s confidence. Most effective work builds on establishing relationships. Some groups may prove a real challenge. For example refugees may speak different languages, street children may not trust adults and people may be very reluctant to discuss personal problems. Gaining people’s confidence in order to take a first step is often the hardest part and may take a long time. Don’t be discouraged!

  • How could the co-ordinating team build up links with other organisations?
  • How can the church support the members of the co-ordinating team?
  • How can the team select the right people within the church to carry out certain work? What can they do if people are unwilling to help?
  • Do people have any experience of working in partnership with another church? Discuss these experiences. How could such a partnership work for the benefit of both churches?
  • What relationships do church members already have within the community that could benefit the planned work? How can these be built upon?
  • Read Luke 14:28-30. How can we ‘estimate the cost’ before starting any action, so that people will not laugh at us because we began something and were then unable to finish it?
  • Read 1 Chronicles 22:1-19. David shows us the importance of making good preparations before beginning work. We can see how the Five Finger planning method applies to this passage:
    • What is the action being planned? What did David have in his heart to do? (verse 7)
    • How is the work to be carried out? What resources were needed? (verses 2-4, 14)
    • Who is going to carry out the work? What part did David play and why? (verse 5) Who is given the overall responsibility during the construction phase? (verse 6) What kinds of workers were involved? (verses 15-16) Who else does David encourage to help? (verse 17)
    • Where is the work to be done? 1 Chronicles 21:18 tells us that David was guided by God as to where to build the temple.
    • When would the work be done? (21:7-10)
  • All the practical details for this project are thoroughly planned: the aim; the site; the materials; the workers; the supervisor; the helpers and the timing. Have we planned every detail of our work?
  • Proverbs 16:3 tells us: ‘Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.’ Are we following this advice?