in 2009 we began to lay down plans for a new church. My wife and I had just returned from India with our new baby daughter Siddhi. 6 weeks prior, my wife had given birth to our fifth child. I was busy making plans for a new church while we were trying to hold the family together. I spent a lot of time coming up with a war plan and battle plans for the new church. I knew where we would head, how we would get there, and why were headed there. We planned out sermon series, community groups, strategy, leadership development, budgets and everything else that comes along with starting a new church. We had to work through the unique problems of becoming a spin off church from a larger church. We came up with ways to implant a new culture into the new church. I was hard at work. Meanwhile, my family needed help.
One night, my wife and I sat down and it hit me--our family needed a war plan. I had spent countless hours and energy on a war plan for the church and yet I was leaving my family's time and future up to the whims of randomness and playing it by ear. What I found is that all of time was easily filled by work and rest without ever considering the goals and vision I had for my family. It was time for a war plan.
Laura and I sat down together and we talked about and wrote out the goals and vision we had for our family. We talked about our relationship and our children. We spoke honestly about time management and concerns that we had. For instance, Laura was able to effectively and lovingly demonstrate to me that I was addicted to my iPhone. We also realized that our dates were inconsistent. Our time with the kids was plentiful but it was not directed by goals and needed direction. After talking and praying through some of our convictions we took action. I believe this is where most men will fail through this sermon series I am preaching. Men are often convicted about change but never take any action. God calls us to take action when we are convicted.
First, we sat down with calendar in hand and planned out how we wanted each week to look, each month to look and what the year should look like. We included as much information as we already had available to us and collaborated.
Second, we planned out our date nights. There are goals and there is reality. We were shooting for every week on Saturday. We made plans with babysitters for many of those nights and have been pretty consistent. Some of our dates end up at home and others end up at the movies with a late dinner. The point is, we would connect at least weekly with just the two of us.
Third, we planned out a weekly family night. Our family night would be on Wednesday. Family night consists of the entire family eating dinner together and doing somethings special together. We also worship together, read the Bible together and take a mid-week break. Our family nights have included board games, video games, special make-your-own dessert nights and more. Once a month we have allowance night on Family Night. This is where our children are paid according to their chore chart. They can choose to spend their money or save their money for the night. That has been an awesome time to teach our kids about stewardship.
Fourth, we turned our pains into plans. We examined the year before and we made changes. We are going to do this every year. If Christmas went bad the year before, we will evaluate it and change it. If family vacation was too short or too long we will evaluate and change it. If we grew tired the year before because of a misplaced time away, we evaluate and change it.
By the end of our war plan we had a calender that was up to date, met our goals and our vision for our family and has been a general rule of practice for us.
In war, there is always change and you have to adapt. Laura and I have had to adapt from time to time. But we always come back to the war plan. We measure how we are doing up against our war plan. The war plan has enabled us to move forward in our marriage and in our relationship to our kids.
Men spend a lot of time on their goals and vision and plan for their career. But perhaps it's time to take a close look at your family and your marriage. What does your war plan look like?