Strategic Planning with God

When I last wrote we were about to undertake a strategic planning meeting for the movie project a business connection of mine is involved in. They want to make a feature film revealing the “Fathers heart” but for the secular market. This project has been on their hearts for several years but God has been stirring them recently to start working on it. So I became involved about six months ago. (www.creationfilms.co.nz/inheritance/)

Now this could have been a can of tuna or a new ice cream flavour, the planning process is similar so hopefully you will all get something from it. As you read our journey you may be stirred to ask questions or provide feedback on similar experiences you have had that you want to share. Please send me an email with your comments and where appropriate we will include them in future articles and to generate further discussion.

So back to the planning meeting.

The main question I had was “why now?” What had changed that the dream that had been sitting for several years was now going to justify time and resources. In fact, it was now going to take focus off their underlying business so it could feasibly conflict with making money from their “day jobs”.

They were quite clear that God had stirred them and that it felt right. Doors that seemed to have been closed now appeared open. People and resources seemed to be pointing towards the film project again. They felt comfortable targeting a February 2012 filming date BUT that God would confirm this as we made plans towards this date.

This was important to me because I would be assisting them to raise the funds to make the movie and we had to understand their commitment to the date in case we faced questions in the future. Our faith would be tested on this journey and we needed to understand the “Thus says the Lord” versus the “unctions” of God versus the “good ideas.”

So we set the target date as February 2012 and built our planning program around that.

We broke the project into the traditional planning pieces, focusing initially on the marketing and communications components.

We set groups onto looking at the top down (strategic), bottom up (targeted) and communications strategies.

What emerged were some great ideas and a wide range of possibilities. Some were generic strategies and others were specific to the movie industry and our particular project/connections.

The key issues where God entered the discussions most were:

The timing of initiatives, especially in setting the priorities. What would we do first? Would we follow a traditional path or would we “respond” as/if we were prompted by God even when it was not necessarily the sensible thing to do?
Who would we work with and how would we select our business partners, financiers, creative partners and even the actors in the movie? Would we only use Christian actors and raise money only from Christian financiers? I will expand on this in a later article as this became very important in addressing the wider purpose of making the movie.
The difference between what “experience” told us to do and the “peace” of God. This is related to point 1 but is appropriate across the whole planning process.

This process popped out a curve ball in terms of financing that would not have been investigated if we were following purely practical worldly advice.

The door opened for us to go to Singapore and speak to several Christian business groups, individuals, creative people and a rather large church about the film project. We had not planned or initiated this. But God brought a Christian businessman across our paths (literally he walked to our church because he saw our sign!) and after going to lunch and sharing his heart I introduced him to our film project. He read the films synopsis and wept! “Every father in Singapore needs to see this – it is their story!” he said. And the doors were opened. Jonathan felt he needed a “token grey haired fellow” to add credibility to the team and so I went with him.

It was an amazing journey for both of us. We were humbled by the love of God and passion shown by every person we met in Singapore. Each day God would reveal a new side of His faithfulness and how much He knew about us and our dreams for the film. Doors remain open and our faith in God has increased through this unplanned (by us) but totally appropriate trip (for God).

So what do you think about Gods timing, His peace and the people you have done business with? What has God revealed to you about these key “criteria” when building Gods plans for your business?

I’m keen to hear your stories.

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