Practical Kingdom Plans

by Morris Ruddick on June 6, 2012


© Morris E. Ruddick


“Then David gave Solomon the plans for all that he had by the Spirit. ‘All this,’ said David, ‘the LORD made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans ‘” 1 Chronicles 28:11, 12, 19

Planning maps out the pathway. It engenders the discipline and maturity needed to reach beyond the ordinary to a higher purpose.

A planning mind-set is a key factor setting leaders apart from followers. Anointed planning means the Holy Spirit is uniquely involved. When employed in conjunction with wise stewardship, it is the means by which we fulfill the mandate, to rule over the work of His hands.

Good plans begin with good planning. Good planning begins with a realistic view of the intended agenda and a big-picture grasp of and response to the times.

All plans are driven by a specific purpose. Business plans within the world are more typically based on a profit-driven model. There is no question that a business cannot endure long without a profit.

However, the mind-set for a Kingdom business is driven by stewardship and holds to a higher standard of purpose. When that standard is maintained, profit will follow; and holds the potential of surpassing the profit yielded by the profit-based model. In the Kingdom, money is neither chased nor the real goal, but instead is the servant. Kingdom planning can only be facilitated through the ongoing guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The Planning Mind-Set
With God as the Senior Partner, planning maximizes wisdom to outline goals and strategies that will serve not only the members of the enterprise, but the community served by the enterprise. It is the means by which dreams are turned into reality.

In the opening scripture from 1 Chronicles 28, we gain insight into the dynamic operating within David that was foundational to his role as a leader and king.

David planned by the Spirit. It was a cooperative process that David recorded in writing. David had a planning mind-set, but it was one that was yielded to the Lord. It was a high-level mind-set in accord with God’s heart, that bridged the sacred and secular, the fruit of which paved the way into a unified kingdom of God’s people.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”
Proverbs 25:2

Joseph the Patriarch also had a planning mind-set. When presented with Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph prophetically outlined the course of action that resulted in harnessing the resources of the worldly realm he was a part of, for God’s redemptive purposes. In the process, Egypt was uniquely blessed.

While I have a long history of working with ones called as modern-day Josephs, more of my work in the nations is on a community level; helping to start enterprises large enough to feed a family or to support a local ministry. Three out of four of those we assist in starting a business have some type of commercially viable skill. Those remaining are individuals who might be deemed as gifted as entrepreneurs: ones who have distinct abilities to spot opportunity and turn that opportunity into profitable endeavors. In each case, dreams are turned into reality.
“Reaching to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Phil 3:14

Turning Dreams into Reality
Prayerful, Spirit-led plans are the means to turn dreams into reality. A good plan demands an elegant simplicity that works as well for a $100 million enterprise, as it does for a start-up entrepreneur seeking to commercialize a skill in order to feed his family. Simultaneously it requires the power to overcome the hurdles of adversity being faced.

From Asia to Israel, Africa and the FSU, I have seen the simplicity of hand-written plans by believers willing to work and serve, become the catalyst leading to the support of their families. Likewise, serving as a pastor in many nations around the world involves congregations so poor they are unable to garner more than a meager support for their ministry. Again and again, we’ve seen simple plans outline the pathway by which a pastor’s family, by engaging in a part-time enterprise, can not only support his or her family, but build the ministry to which they are called.

In one extremely poor Asian village, the situation was so bad that the average family was only eating one meal a day. The village was primarily Buddhist, but included three Christian families. Nothing seemed able to grow in their area, while regions a day walk away were known to be fertile. Some surmised that the area was cursed.

At one point, the Christians began praying and asking the Lord for direction. The Lord showed them that the problem was the high clay content of the soil; and that the answer would be in mobilizing an enterprise to make decorative clay pots for the West. Through prayer, initial plans were made and then with the help of connections in the West, this simple enterprise was launched. Within a three month period of time the three Christian families were eating three meals a day.

The growth of the enterprise at that juncture began opening the door to hiring other villagers. Within two years, every adult in that village was working for this simple operation and every family was eating three meals a day; and with that, this village of Buddhists had come to see the reality of God in their midst and had become followers of the One, Jesus, Whose light had turned their hunger into blessing.

Elements of the Plan
Every business plan describes certain key elements that represent stepping stones by which opportunity is identified and offered in terms of a need in the market, along with a description of basic goals and strategies to achieve the goals.
“Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts.”

Proverbs 24:3 TLB

Market Need. The first element of the business plan is the market need. The market need for the clay pot business was for decorative pots hung in a home that were not only attractive, but had meaning because of the story of the community who had made them, which became part of their marketing appeal.

Company Expertise and Experience. The plan needs to describe the special capabilities within the enterprise. With rich clay resources coupled with an expertise to craft attractive pots for western households, the owners quickly developed a track record of quality in the production of these items.

The Product or Service. Next is a clear description of the uniqueness of the product or service. The pots were uniquely designed with a flat backing to be hung decoratively on a wall and used as a display container for items such as flowers.

Benefits (to Customers). The plan also needs to outline the appeal or benefits the product or service has to its customers. The appeal of the clay pots were as affordable, attractive household items that carried a meaningful story about the plight of those whose hands crafted them.

The Customer. Defining the specific characteristics of primary, secondary and potential customers provides a longer-term view bearing on product development and appeals. The initial customers for the clay pots were Western gift shops, who in turn sold them to customers who displayed them in their flats and homes.

Initial Funding Requirements. In the clay pot story, initial funding requirements were almost nil (i.e. shipping, since the raw material was in abundance). For most start-ups, we recommend starting on a part-time basis with funding requirements limited to basic equipment, raw materials and advertising.

The Opportunity. The opportunity needs to be viewed in both the short-term and long-term to determine if it can be sustained over time. For the clay-pot business, the opportunity grew to the extent that it provided ongoing opportunity for this small village.

Goals and Strategies. Goals for family-based enterprises should be viewed in the context of a year. Goals should target a level of growth (i.e. sales of 400 clay pots monthly by year-end); customer-base (i.e. expand from UK gift shops to US gift shops); product-mix (i.e. household to office designs); distribution (gift shops to re-sellers); personnel (those needed to meet production/sales goals). Each goal should have three to four strategies as the means to accomplish the goal.

Annual Sales and Budget. Annual sales are simply the monthly projection of sales expected over a year’s time frame. They are expressed in income for each month and will be tied to the expanding monthly expense requirements to establish sufficient operating capital to maintain the momentum of the growth.

Vision as a Community Builder. Together with the Lord as the Senior Partner in the operation, the community builder vision will differentiate the Kingdom business. The community builder vision, beyond being a good witness of the Lord, is the means by which the business proactively will bless the community it serves. In the clay pot story, it demonstrated the reality of God by raising the standard of living in the village so that the entire village was no longer hungry.

Planning by the Spirit
Like King David, we can make a difference when we plan by the Spirit. By interactive prayer and the application of our gifts we enter a cooperative process with the Lord. David recorded what he gleaned from the Spirit in writing. David had a planning mind-set yielded to the Lord.

Good planning by the Spirit helps you avoid frequent mistakes made in starting a new business, which include:

  • Being under-capitalized; taking on too much debt
  • Making unrealistic goals
  • Lack of good accounting and money management
  • Lack of sound advice and wisdom
  • Inadequate operating capital
  • Haste and impulsiveness
  • Using prayer or God as an after-thought.

Practical plans consider the options and map out a pathway of progress. A practical Kingdom plan will organize your thinking and clarify prudent steps. It will consider the key elements in anticipating alternatives and decisions to be made. Ongoing prayed-through planning will help you manage change and avoid pitfalls. It will uncover opportunity and unveil timing issues. It will open doors.
“The plans of the diligent lead to plenty, but everyone who is hasty to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5

Ongoing planning, with the Lord as your Senior Partner, enables you to operate within the real world of your market. It is a realistic means of staying in touch with your customers. It helps anticipate the strategies of competition. It likewise provides the wisdom for realistic marketing communication strategies to attract and maintain new customers.

In short, at the core of running a business is the art of managing change. Holy Spirit planning enables you to manage change so that change works for you, as you realistically approach and maximize opportunity.
“Be diligent to know the state of your flocks and attend to your herds.” 
Prov 27:23

To enhance the Kingdom dimension needed to operate in tough spiritual environments, our entrepreneurial program sets up small groups of 5 to 15 members led by spiritually mature persons experienced in business ownership. These groups, to be explained in more detail in a future post, serve the purposes of accountability, prayer-support, and practical wisdom into the planning developments among its members. In short, they are a hybrid of spiritual mentoring and business incubators.

The Kingdom Dynamic and Righteous Power
The clay pot story is a good example of dominion; of God’s people employing righteous power in ruling over the work of His hands. The cooperative effort between the believers responding to what God showed them brought them into a dynamic that not only met their needs, but enabled them to be blessed to be a blessing as they extended the opportunity of the blessing to their neighbors.

Again, a Kingdom business is driven by stewardship and holds to a higher standard of purpose than worldly businesses. That standard goes beyond being a light to the community by proactively using the unique capabilities of the business dynamic as a means to extend the “blessing” and build community.
“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go.”
Isaiah 48:17

So it is that learning to discern God’s direction and wisdom for our individual lives, for a congregation, for a business or for a community is developed through the proactive process of seeking Him, then mapping out a practical plan to follow.

Within a community of believers, planning is a pathway of purpose strategically employing the diversity of gifts in a process guided by the Spirit. It is the building process with the Lord as the cornerstone and those anointed as leaders paving the way by which each one plays their part, as they enter a realm, unparalleled by the world around them, of being blessed to be a blessing.

In the next post, we will take a closer look at God’s economy and entrepreneurship. God did not make his people to be like everyone else; nor to follow a methodology embraced by a weak and corrupt world. Instead, He has outlined everything needed for those known by His name to be the head and not the tail. It all begins with the choice to enter the narrow path of the Kingdom and His economy.

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