Beyond the Mission and Vision
Of course, a strategic plan is not complete with just its vision and mission. They exist to give direction to the action we are to take. The corporate model of strategic planning moves into a SWOT analysis (assessing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), followed by the creation of goals, strategies and plans. Spirit-led planning, too, contains all of those elements – though the process and application are different than in the corporate model.
Now that we know God’s mission and vision, born out of His values, the next step is to “survey the land,” a process very unlike the SWOT analysis. In Numbers 13:2 the Lord commands Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites.” Notice the mission is already established, based on God’s values – His feelings for the Israelites and His determination to rescue them and favor them as His people in a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:7-10) How Moses responds exposes the shortcomings of man’s planning and sets a Spirit-led model for this part of the planning process.
Why was God sending out a reconnaissance team? Surely He knew what and who was in the land. He already told Moses it was a rich land. He had already repeated three times that He was giving the land to the Israelites. God simply told Moses to explore. He wanted to show them the gift He was giving them, that they would see His vision. Moses, however, embellished on God’s instructions. In Numbers 13:17-20, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” Rather than acting on faith in God, Moses was instilling doubt about the gift. He was focusing on the threats therein. He was testing God’s own words. He departed from Spirit-led planning by trying to identify what he and his team would have to do, rather than on what God had already done.