Posts Tagged ‘planning’

Numbers 34:16-29

Leaders to Divide the Land


This coming Tuesday, four days from today, our church will put on the biggest event of the year for our church. We call it the Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway. It requires a great deal of planning and quite of few leaders. The event involves multiple leaders with multiple teams, each with a specific function that contributes to the success of the whole event. In this event, we give away 500 turkeys and bags the canned and boxed for each of the families that pass through our doors to have a nice Thanksgiving meal in their own homes (two days later, on Thanksgiving Day). It sounds simple enough but it is a rather large undertaking.


These are the various teams and their functions for the event;


  1. Event Leader – This happens to be my wife, our church’s director of community outreach. She must pick a team of leaders for the all the following teams. She develops relationships with vendors and she also makes sure the church-wide body understands where we are at in preparation for the event. She must purchase all the bulk goods and turkeys for the event and ensure that they are delivered and staged prior to the Sunday before the event and ensure that all functional leaders have what they need for the event, have sufficient personnel to accomplish their team goals and requirements, and generally “manage the organized chaos” on the day of the event.
  2. Logistics Team – The leader of this team must ensure that all the chairs in the center two sections of the church are removed before the event and ten tables are put in their place along with chairs enough for eight people to sit at each table. They must ensure that the stantions that are used to control crowd flow in the atrium for registration are put in place. This team also ensures that all the foodstuff for the bags of fixings are all staged properly for the pre-event “packing party” where our church members work together on the Sunday afternoon before the event to populate the bags with the required canned and dry goods for each bag.
  3. Parking Team – As this is a well-known event in our community, our visitors come early – well before we open our doors at 8:00am. We have to have parking control because there will be at least 200-300 cars that will have to be parked in an organized fashion. We have to have a team leader for this and 2 to 3 assistants.
  4. Security Team – To ensure the safety of all people at the event (our guests and our volunteers), members of our Sunday morning security team provide security for the event. This requires a leader and two to three assistants at all times during the event. Sometimes, people can get testy when waiting in the long line to get inside our worship center. Sad to say but true.
  5. Registration Team – In order to control the flow of people through the event, to prevent one person or family from getting multiple Thanksgiving meals by assigning numbered wristbands, and to gather information from our guests so that we can send invitations to them to our church and become part of our fellowship, we have a registration team. This requires a team of 8-10 people rotating in and out of the registration table. The leader must keep it all flowing smoothly and under control.
  6. Hospitality Team – This team provides coffee to people while they wait in line and they provide our guests with coffee and snacks while they are sitting in the worship center awaiting the next step in the process. This requires 10-15 people to be working at any given time and requires 20-25 in total so that people can rotate in and out as their time allows. It is basically an all-hands on desk for our Sunday morning café team as well as any additional volunteers they can garner. It requires a leader to staff the event, to purchase snacks for our guests, and to ensure that coffee is always flowing.
  7. Worship Team – our Worship Pastor must ensure that he has sufficient musicians to perform throughout the event. The Sunday morning worship team rotates in and out so that one set of musicians don’t have to play throughout the 4-5 hour event. The Worship Pastor also ensures that the other elder/pastors of the church are there and have specified time slots to share the gospel with our guests as they are sitting in the sanctuary.
  8. Tech Team – This requires the tech team leader from our Sunday morning services to ensure that he has a team of people to execute the audio/visual and lighting systems of the sanctuary. They have to treat it like a Sunday morning. The leader must make sure he’s adequately staffed just like on a Sunday morning service. He must prepare the informational slides that will be displayed on the screens and ensure that any video messages are prepared in advance of the event.
  9. Prayer Team – As our guests are moved into the sanctuary, they sit and wait and are entertained and informaed by the hospitality team, worship team and tech team, they are then called in groups of 10-12 people to the prayer tables set up outside the sanctuary. At these tables, a team of 10-12 prayer warriors at a time (usually have 20-24 people rotating to the tables as prayer warriors), who sit and pray with each guest individually about whatever each person desires prayer for. It takes a leader with discernment to pick these prayer warriors because it is intensely draining to listen to the stories of despair and misfortune constantly and then try to effectively pray for that person individually. The leader must ensure too that these people rotate out of the tables for short periods of rest because of the emotional intensity.
  10. Coat Drive Team – For several weeks prior to the event, the church asks its people and the community to donate gently worn coats for us to giveaway to those who need them on the day of the event. The leader of this team must ensure that all donations points at the church and in the community are managed before the event. They must ensure that the coats are collected, organized by size, gender, and/or age and then hang them on hangers on mobile racks in what is normally our toddler room in the worship center. The leader of this team needs about 10-12 total volunteers who rotate in and out of the coat giveaway area.
  11. Food Bag Distribution Team – after the packing party on Sunday, our nursery room becomes a sea of 500 plus food bags. The team leader here must constantly have about 4-5 people rotating in and out of the nursery. These team members hand the bags of goods to our guests as they pass by the counter in the nursery. Behind them they have people supplying them with bags and moving the inventory forward as the “sea of bags” gets progressively smaller as the event progresses.
  12. Exit Team – The leader of this team must have a team of 5-10 people at all times (so a need of a total of 10-15 team members). The leader ensures that these “people persons” guide our guests out of the nursery (with their bag of canned and boxed goods) out the side doors of the worship center and to the refrigerated trailer outside where the family will pick up their turkey. The team member will then escort the family back to their cars. The leader must pick people who can effortlessly engage people that they do not know.
  13. Turkey Distribution Team – This is the team for real men! The leader of this team must pick strong guys who can deal with cold temperatures. This team is responsible for distributing average 11 lb. turkeys to our guests. The turkeys come to us in a refrigerated transfer truck trailer and are in palletized boxes containing the turkeys. These guys must be in or around the refrigerated truck all during the event. They must break open boxes and move them out of the way when empty. The pallets are always at the back of the refrigerated trailer so not only do you need guys at the back getting the turkeys out the boxes, you need guys to walk them forward to the opened doors of the trailer where another set of guys are handing the turkeys to our guests. This requires a team of 5-10 guys at all times (a need for a total 10-15 guys so that people can rotate in an out).


As you can see this is a huge event that requires a lot of people, quite a few leaders, and a lot of planning so that the event goes off seamlessly on event day. It’s kind of like Thanksgiving meals themselves. The planning takes longer than the execution. But without all the extensive planning, the execution for those 4-5 hours would be a disaster. It takes planning. It takes picking the right leaders. It takes those leaders making sure their function has what it needs. All this is done so that on the day of the event everyone knows what to do. When that’s down cold, we can concentrate on loving on our guests. That’s what we are there for – to show uncommon love to a world that needs to be shown uncommon love – the uncommon love of Jesus Christ.


That attention to detail and the preparation for the move into the Promised Land that is brought out in today’s passage made me think of our Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway when I read it. Let’s read it together now:


16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 “These are the names of the men who are to assign the land for you as an inheritance: Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun. 18 And appoint one leader from each tribe to help assign the land. 19 These are their names:


Caleb son of Jephunneh,


from the tribe of Judah;


20 Shemuel son of Ammihud,


from the tribe of Simeon;


21 Elidad son of Kislon,


from the tribe of Benjamin;


22 Bukki son of Jogli,


the leader from the tribe of Dan;


23 Hanniel son of Ephod,


the leader from the tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph;


24 Kemuel son of Shiphtan,


the leader from the tribe of Ephraim son of Joseph;


25 Elizaphan son of Parnak,


the leader from the tribe of Zebulun;


26 Paltiel son of Azzan,


the leader from the tribe of Issachar;


27 Ahihud son of Shelomi,


the leader from the tribe of Asher;


28 Pedahel son of Ammihud,


the leader from the tribe of Naphtali.”


29 These are the men the Lord commanded to assign the inheritance to the Israelites in the land of Canaan.


In God’s plan for settling the land, He explained what to do, communicated this clearly to Moses, and assigned specific people to oversee the apportionment of the land. Sounds simple but think of the complexity of apportioning the lands among the tribes proportionally to the size of the tribe (taking in an understanding of topography and resources in the area), then apportioning the land within those apportionments to individual clans and family. Huge undertaking. No plan is complete until each job is defined and assigned and everyone understand their responsibilities. When we are assigned a project, we must determine what is to be done, break the project down into component parts, and put people in charge of each part. Basic leadership 101 taught right here in the Bible. What you don’t want is an unorganized mess which then becomes everyone’s focus rather than the purpose of what you are trying to accomplish.


As church leaders, we would do well to learn from this passage. We must make sure that the things that we do for our people and for our community are organized and executed in a manner that the love of Jesus is the primary focus on the day of the event, during the project, or whatever it is. We must do our part so that we can love on people and not worry about logistics. We want the things that we do to speak loudly of Christ. We want people to see excellence in us and not have to make exceptions for us because we are a church depending on volunteers. We want Jesus to be the focus not the details of the event. That requires us as leaders to plan, to execute, and work hard to make sure that all people see is Jesus on the day of the event or whatever we are doing as a church.


Amen and Amen.


Numbers 10:11-36 (Part 2)

The Israelites Leave Sinai

At this time of year, college football teams are deep into their preparations for the season. Two weeks from now, thank you, Jesus!, college football season begins. As a college football fan of a college team that played for the national championship last year and a team who is expected to compete at the highest level again this year, I cannot wait for September 3rd for the opening kickoff of the 2016 Clemson Tiger football season when they travel to face-off against Auburn, the other tigers. However, as a football team at the beginning of the season, they must gather together in early August to begin preparations for the season. Training camp is where coaches must assess the new recruits and the existing players and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses as the replace players who graduated. Much has to be done as each year’s team is different from the last as you lose a senior class and replace it with a new freshman class. Preparation. Putting in changes to offensive and defensive standards for the season. Getting players into shape for the grind of potentially 15 games (12 regular season games, potentially a conference championship game, and potentially 2 games in the college football playoff). It is a time of preparation. It is a time of establishing a routine to football life. During the season, there is a rhythm to each week of preparation for the next opponent. Putting in game plans. Working the expected game plan of the opponent. There is a sequence to it all each week. Training camp is to establish that routine, that sequence of events that is to transpire each week. Each part of the football team (offense, defense, special teams) all have the responsibilities in getting ready for the season during training camp and then each week during the season.


My Clemson Tigers will not just show up at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, AL on Saturday, September 3, 2016 at 9:00pm and play. There has been training camp that get them prepared for the season as whole and that last week (August 28-September 2) will involve getting ready specifically to play Auburn. There is an order at which college football teams prepare for the season and for each weekly opponent. Teams don’t just show up and play. Even the logistical side of things that allow a team to go on a road trip game such as when Clemson travels to play Auburn in two weeks. Equipment must be organized. Hotel arrangements for the team and coaching staff must be made. There are a hundred things that have to happen when a major college football team goes on a road trip game that we, as fans, do not see. But, if any of those things fall through or do not get done, it can wreak havoc on the whole process and get a team all out of sorts and can even effect how the team plays on Saturday night. Those sequences of tasks have to be done in order and with precision so that when the ball kicks off at 9pm that night, we the fans can enjoy seeing our Tigers play and the players themselves can just go do what they do. The sequence of events in practice all week, the logistics of taking a large group of people from Clemson to Auburn, all make way for the fun of playing and watching college football on a college football Saturday night.


It is that idea of preparation, of proper order, and how the behind the scenes planning by God makes the movement of a million people seem like precision clockwork. There had to be preparation, planning, and flawless execution. Let’s think about that as we read this passage for the second time today, Numbers 10:11-36, and lets pay attention to the sequencing of the tribes (particularly those who were to carry the tabernacle and those who were to carry the holy things of tabernacle):


11 On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year, the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle of the covenant law. 12 Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran. 13 They set out, this first time, at the Lord’s command through Moses.


14 The divisions of the camp of Judah went first, under their standard. Nahshon son of Amminadab was in command. 15 Nethanel son of Zuar was over the division of the tribe of Issachar, 16 and Eliab son of Helon was over the division of the tribe of Zebulun. 17 Then the tabernacle was taken down, and the Gershonites and Merarites, who carried it, set out.


18 The divisions of the camp of Reuben went next, under their standard. Elizur son of Shedeur was in command. 19 Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai was over the division of the tribe of Simeon, 20 and Eliasaph son of Deuel was over the division of the tribe of Gad. 21 Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy things. The tabernacle was to be set up before they arrived.


22 The divisions of the camp of Ephraim went next, under their standard. Elishama son of Ammihud was in command. 23 Gamaliel son of Pedahzur was over the division of the tribe of Manasseh, 24 and Abidan son of Gideoni was over the division of the tribe of Benjamin.


25 Finally, as the rear guard for all the units, the divisions of the camp of Dan set out under their standard. Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai was in command. 26 Pagiel son of Okran was over the division of the tribe of Asher, 27 and Ahira son of Enan was over the division of the tribe of Naphtali. 28 This was the order of march for the Israelite divisions as they set out.


29 Now Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place about which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised good things to Israel.”


30 He answered, “No, I will not go; I am going back to my own land and my own people.”


31 But Moses said, “Please do not leave us. You know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes. 32 If you come with us, we will share with you whatever good things the Lord gives us.”


33 So they set out from the mountain of the Lord and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest. 34 The cloud of the Lord was over them by day when they set out from the camp.


35 Whenever the ark set out, Moses said,


“Rise up, Lord!

    May your enemies be scattered;

    may your foes flee before you.”


36 Whenever it came to rest, he said,


“Return, Lord,

    to the countless thousands of Israel.”



I think that the amazing thing here to me is how God instructed Moses to sequence the tribes as they marched from one place to another. There is something to be said to us as we read through this passage. Notice that tribe divisions that are responsible for the break down and set up of the tabernacle always went before the tribe divisions that were responsible for the packing, carrying, and unpacking of the holy objects of the tabernacle. Notice, too, that there was a tribe that marched in between the tabernacle setter-upper tribe and the tabernacle objects carrying tribe. That’s an important logistical detail. The sequence had to be that way. When the tribes arrived at a new location, it would take a while to get everybody into camp so the sequence of events was important. It was important for the tabernacle to be set up before the guys with the furniture showed up. The house had to be built before the movers with the contents show up. There was enough distance between the tabernacle setter-uppers and the holy object carriers that the tabernacle could be put back together just in time for the object bearers to show up in camp. Precision planning on God’s part, huh?


God has a plan and sequence for our lives too. Have you ever thought that God has you right where he wants you at the moment? He has a plan for the path of our lives and we must trust Him with. Sometimes, we want to jump ahead of God. Sometimes we want to be like a football team that takes off for a road game without letting the logistics team leave the day before with all the equipment, without letting that advance team get all that set up, get the hotel rooms squared away and meeting rooms set up, getting the guest locker room set up and so on. When we jump ahead of God’s plan and we can cause ourselves pain. What if there is a reason that God has you right where you for a reason. One of my coined phrases is, “God has us right here, right now, with these people, in this place to do what God wants to do through us as His people in this place, at this moment, with these people.” God has us where He wants us to teach us what we need to be taught in this particular sequence of our lives. As my senior pastor often says, “God is preparing us for what He has prepared for us.” So many times in life, we complain about where we are at in life and want what’s next before we are ready for it. It’s sometimes that we are an elementary school football player wanting to be on the high school team right now. However, if you gave the elementary school kid that opportunity before they are ready for it, they will get crushed at practice and will never see the field in games. They would probably give up and quit. There is a plan to develop the elementary school football player as he grows so that he will be ready to play high school ball when it is time. It is the same for us. Let us enjoy the moment that we are in and learn what we need to learn. The closed doors that you keep knocking are maybe closed and unresponsive at this point because God still has work to do in you and through you right here, right now, where you are. God always let us know, through the  Holy Spirit’s pricking, prodding and cajoling of our soul, when it is time to move. The Holy Spirit will show us when the pillar of fire and smoke is lifting and moving us ahead into the next thing. We are in sequence right now where we are supposed to be. God does not want us to show up in the new campsite before the tabernacle is built. He wants us to arrive with the holy objects at just the right time and in the right sequence of events.


God does not want us to fail. He does not want to throw us into the deep waters without first having taught us to swim in the deep waters. He wants you to succeed so learn what you need to learn right now in the ministry that you are in. There is a sequence and a plan. Enjoy the ministry that you are in. God is using what you do right now. It is not wasted time. You may be reaching people for the Lord. You may be discipling people into deeper walks with the Lord right now without even realizing it. You may be impacting someone for their future ministry in the Lord right now. What if your quest for excellence in everything you do, your passion to be excellent for the Lord, is impacting someone you lead right now. Maybe, you know and have this feeling that God has bigger plans for you but don’t forget that God has a sequence of events and plans for your life and that this moment is a crucial and important part of the sequence of events and plans. Without this time frame where you are serving where you are serving, you may not be ready for what God truly has in store for you. Each step in our walk with the Lord is preparation for the next. Each step we take in ministry is preparation for the next. There is a sequence. We must trust it, enjoy it, and not short circuit it. God will let us know when its time for the next thing. We don’t just show up for football games. There is a whole sequence of events done in proper order that gets a team ready for kickoff. We must trust that the sequence of events that we are going through is all part of the necessary plan that God has for our lives. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. Everything, every step is used to develop us into the servants that He wants us to be.


Amen and Amen.