The four elements of effective preparation


Preparation: A word that really describes my current life phase as well as the phase that New Joy Church is in. Preparation is what occurs in the spring to get fields ready for planting and harvest. If you think about the steps to preparing a field there are really four key elements: cleansing, nourishment, establishing structures, and initiating engagement. Let us take a brief look at the purpose of each element in making preparation.

Cleansing: This is really about getting rid of the old and the garbage. It is about dealing with the debris of both the good and the bad. It can even involve making decision of what can stay and what can go. For example, sometimes there is tilling of old plants remains into the soil. However, if the old remains have bugs and insects or other problems it can damage the whole field. It is a necessity to sort out what is helpful and useful. In the same way, when in a time of preparation, we need to sort through our lives and separate what is useful and beneficial from that which can be harmful. Another part of cleaning is refreshing the tools, bringing anything in disrepair back to functioning. Some things are beyond repair though and need discarding. There are also often things that happened over the course of the year that caused damage that result in needed removal and repair. Really, the actions of cleansing encompass sorting, repairing, and removing that which remains from the previous year. When in a time of preparation we need to take same attitude in our lives and spend time sorting, repairing, and removing in relation to whatever is undergoing a season of preparation. We need to figure out what is helpful for the next season and what is not. We need to fix what is broken. We need to remove that which is not helpful or useful for the season ahead. The way those activities vary in terms of what it looks like but the actions are essential to preparation.

Nourishment: In Spring, tasks involved are adding both fertilizer and amendments to a field. It is essentially preparing the soil with the proper nutrients to be yield a successful harvest. When in a season of preparation time needs to focus on that which builds up and nourished. In the Christian life, nourishment comes from aspects of living as a disciple. They include studying and meditating on God’s word, time in prayer, and time in fellowship with other believers. If you lack nourishment, a fruitful harvest is unlikely.

Establishing Structure: This element relates to things such as tilling the fields and setting into place any needed support structure needed. In order to establish the appropriate structures and prepare the field adequately a plan and a vision needs to be established which can establish the direction. A productive harvest comes from planful preparation that includes establishing the appropriate structure. So when in a phase of preparation there is need to identify the vision and begin setting the proper structures in place. In each instance that will look different, but the element is the same.

Initiating Engagement: Everything a season of preparation is about culminates in initiating engagement. Another description of this element is the common concept of sowing seeds. It is the last step of preparation and is about planting the seeds identify in accordance with the prepared fields in accordance with the set structures. It is very easy to focus on where to sow seeds and the potential harvest. It is even easy to get lost in trying to make sure all resources are in place to handle the hoped for harvest. Focusing on these things ahead can easily distract from the work of preparation needed in the moment. It is taking an active step and engaging in dispersing and setting into motion that which can bring forth life and harvest.

Now regardless of whether efficacy of each step of preparation, any harvest is dependent upon the Creator, the master of the universe. Any good harvest is cooperation between man and God. Without that dynamic relationship, a person can prepare for a harvest that does not fit the conditions or climate. Ultimately, God allows and brings forth any good harvest. Our steps of preparation are getting ready to respond and be in line with what God will do. If out of alignment, the harvest is doomed. Falter in preparation or take short cuts and the harvest is flowed. God will bring forth what He will bring forth out of obedient response and preparation to His leading.

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One Response

  1. This piece deserves discussion. Any chance of posting it in the forum?

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