Planning and Riding

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Hello friends,

A few days ago, I experienced two sides of my personality pretty dramatically. Hard as it might be to believe, I can sometimes be a compulsive planner (my blog posts are not part of this side of me obviously). I can also sometimes drift to wherever my heart is taking me without much planning at all. 

For a few years, I've started to notice that when it comes to teachings at Veritas, we cycle around to the same topics again and again and again and again. This year for instance while we were studying addictions and how they impact our faith, several of the students said "this is nice, but we feel like we've been over this before." After checking with the calendar, they were right. We had been over it before. About 4 times in 5 years. 

And so I sat down at our white board, and crafted something huge. A four year teaching plan for High School Veritas. Each teaching planned out for four years, so that a student who comes in as a freshmen will never hear the same topic repeated twice except in certain instances where repetition is key. And even there, the repetition is once every other year, so that we can break up the monotony. Four years of planning! I can tell you what we'll be talking about each week until 2016. I walked away from the whiteboard feeling really good about where we're going as a ministry!

I got in my car, drove home, and decided to take a training ride. This was one of the first times back on the bike after a two week break with Alive and Vacation Bible School, so I decided that I just wanted to hop on and get my legs spinning. I had no plan. I had no goals. I had no measures of success other than to end with a smile on my face. I actually wound up going faster and longer than I would have thought (10 miles at a 16.9 mph average), but again I had no real goal, so I didn't really have anything to compare it to. But being completely without plan felt good in that moment. I felt free. 

I see both sides of the argument from different youth leaders. Some insist that you have to be meticulously planned out, to the point where you know every detail of every possible event about 5 years before you actually pull the trigger on it. I get this. It leads to some security and safety. It also frees you up from having to think a whole lot on your feet, because the thinking took place months ago. 

I also know people who say the Spirit needs to move in freedom, and that our plans would get in the way of the Spirits work. If I plan something for a high school event while the Spirit is busy making other plans, I might miss something. I get this line of thinking too. Too many plans can suffocate a movement. 

I think what becomes obvious here is that there is a time for everything. Having a four year teaching plan for us right now is going to alleviate a lot of problems we've been experiencing at Veritas. But at the same time, I love nothing more than the impromptu visits by students, the unplanned movements. I'm even sick enough to love when plans go horribly wrong, and I'm forced to think a bit on my feet. It's got to be both, in certain situations and certain times. And to know the difference takes the spiritual gift of discernment. 

What about you? Are you more of a planner, or a free spirited person?