By Linda Murdock

It’s that time of year again! And no, I don’t just mean tax time! Along with my fellow site leaders, I just finished submitting ministry plans for the ministry responsibilities I have been given at Living Water. Whew! Glad that’s done! But really? Was it that horrible?

I know that I’m wrong in thinking that this task is a form of “homework.” In my head it’s never a “fun” experience because I don’t allow it to be; when in reality planning is a necessary step toward shaping what our ministries will look like in 2014-15. It’s not just about the dreaded, scary budget, either. Although some people view budgeting as a form of torture, in actuality the entire exercise is an opportunity to be creative and inspire others to try new approaches to ministry. It’s a way to put our aspirations on paper and bring them to reality.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”Jeremiah 29:1-13

Just like at home, a good ministry plan comes from the input of all family members because everyone has a unique view of what is needed and wanted to make the household prosper. Similarly, in the church, ministry planning represents an action plan to clarify and reach our goals to grow the Kingdom of God through Worship, Discipleship, and Outreach!

Sometimes we can only achieve those goals by spending money or raising dollars to supplement what we have on hand, but at least the plan is in place and we can tweak it to fit our resources. And because we have a plan in place, it serves as an incentive to increase giving so more can be done each year at Living Water, University Lutheran Chapel, and St. Luke, Ann Arbor.

Living Water Mothers of Preschoolers wrote a Ministry Plan last year to maintain it’s outreach to young mothers in need of support and encouragement. We are very thankful to St. Luke for it’s generosity in paying our rent, miscellaneous expenses, and childcare during meetings.

Our annual MOPS dues allow us to provide quality programs twice each month. I have seen women grow both spiritually and as leaders through the MOPS program. They have matured in self-confidence and confidence in the Lord. They are also learning to be faith sharers in their homes.

As we now close the school year, my Easter prayer is that those women who are seeking a church home will bring their families to church on April 20 and continue to be welcomed into a faith community like Living Water.

Last December our MOPS group held a “Drop & Shop” event just before Christmas. It was a fundraiser and service project to help pay expenses for MOPS mothers who want to attend the annual MomCon this Fall. MomCon is a wonderful get-away weekend filled with fun, learning, networking, and worship. It was part of our 2013-14 Ministry Plan, but was unable to be fully funded.

“Drop & Shop” raised a limited amount of money, but the quality of our fundraiser was top-notch! We provided hands-on learning experiences for children while their parents spent the evening on a date or Christmas shopping. We learned a lot from this project and will undertake it again next year with more and better publicity and options for payment. The plan is in place!

The Lord promises to prosper our plans if we ask Him to bless them and use them to grow closer to Him. This year Living Water MOPS was additionally blessed by a monetary gift from the Livingston Chapter of Thrivent Financial. As a result, we are that much closer to sending 1-2 women to MomCon in 2014 or 2015. We are learning to be patient and glorify God in the process!

Ministry planning is more than a budget. It’s passionate persistence based on faith in God. We get to shape the future of our church, challenge its members in service, and look forward to blessing after blessing!

thriventLiving Water MOPS extends a big “thank you” to Livingston County Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans for their generous donation of $136.00 to help fund an upcoming     MomCon trip!