For many years I have been known to people in our churches as Pastor Brad. Or, if we’re on pretty familiar terms P.B. But when you are the senior leader, you have the final say, or all too often you are the final recourse in solving every problem. I had a great leadership team who could handle most things, but every so often a difficult situation would get passed all the way back up the chain of command until it landed on my desk. So P.B. eventually came to stand for Plan B, instead of Pastor Brad!
If there was a way to compile the statistics I would be willing to bet that most of the stuff that actually gets accomplished in this world probably happens on Plan B – not Plan A. We set our goals and make our plans, but it is a wise leader who always has a back-up plan in his back pocket. You know Murphy’s Law: ‘If anything can go wrong – it will.” If the god of this world is Satan, I think his middle name is Murphy! Or in Robbie Burns speak: “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley”. That’s why we always need a Plan B. And more than likely Plan C, D, and E as well!
I shared this at a leadership conference once and was challenged that a “real man of faith” just hears from God and obeys. The implication being that if you need a back-up plan you’ve probably missed God. I guess it’s a good thing Moses had some back-up plans when he went to Pharaoh with, “Let my people go.” Or when Jesus instructed the disciples to get in a boat and go to the other side. But then a big storm blew up and it took a little water-walking before they made it to the other side. Perhaps from God’s perspective it was all in the plan – but from our point of view it just looks like another dead-end that we have to navigate around. Plan B.
The point is that things don’t always work out as planned, but a resourceful leader just doesn’t allow himself to be deterred. Develop the mental habit of always having a back-up plan or two ready and you will rarely even miss a step when things take an unexpected turn. Ecclesiates 11 says, ” In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper.”
Church planting is a bit of a ‘risk venture’. If you wait until everything is just right and results are guaranteed you will probably never even start. Verse 4 of the same passage says, “He who observes the wind will not sow, And he who regards the clouds will not reap.” So just lay out the best plan you can, make sure you have a few contingency plans to carry in your back pocket, and get started. There is no shame in changing plans along the way. In the end the right plan is the one that gets the job done.