Project Planning Lessons from the Creation

I started reading the Bible again this week from the very beginning. This time around I’m looking for specific principles that apply to running a business. I barely made it through the first chapter of Genesis before realizing that God truly is a Master Planner and that we can apply the principles of creation to our lives and businesses as well. 
After creating all things in the first chapter of Genesis, God rests.

“Thus the heavens ad the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”

Too often we think this is the end of the Creation. God rested. He’s done. End of story.

But there is something we’ve been missing.

 We’ve been focusing on the physical creation and ignoring the spiritual creation—the planning process—that took place before the physical creation even began.

 In Genesis 2:4-5 we read:

“These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, and every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew; for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth and there was not a man to till the ground.”

Then in verse six a mist goes up from the ground and the physical creation begins, proceeding in an order quite out of synch with the creative periods we are accustomed to relating.

“But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (verse 6). So by this point, the earth had been created and, at the very least, the water had been withdrawn and the dry land emerged.

Then verses seven to nine say, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

It’s not until verse nineteen that God creates the animals. “And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air….”

Planning came first. Implementation came second.

So what can we learn from this insight and how do we apply it?

Principle #1: Plan Your Work Thoroughly and Thoughtfully Before You Start Implementing

First, God is a planner. He didn’t get a wild idea one day and start building the earth. He planned out the entire project meticulously. First, He would need a planet. Next, dry land and water. Light and darkness so people and other life forms will be able to see and plants would be able to grow. Next vegetation (the inhabitants will need something to eat). Animal life next. And man, made in the image of God.

What if God had decided to create Man but left out the vegetation or the water? What if He had neglected to provide the sun? What if there had been no minerals deposited in the soil whatsoever? His planning and His precision of thought prior to the Creation is what made the creation a success.

God began his creative planning process by reasoning out everything that would be necessary in order to make His plan work so that we would not merely survive but thrive. Everything that we enjoy and are able to create is a product of His foreknowledge, His thought, His planning.

Principle #2: Be Clear About the Core Purposes for Your Work

God had a purpose—an ultimate objective—for His creations. He didn’t just want a planet and little people to play with. Beyond a mere Plan of Creation, He had a Plan of Salvation. His Plan of Salvation was to create an earth where His children could dwell, to allow opposition so that would could learn to choose between good and evil, to provide a Savior so that we would always have a pathway back to Him, and to give us knowledge about Him so we could learn about the pathway back and how to be forgiven when we make mistakes. So there is a purpose to the physical creation along with an overarching Plan of Salvation at work as well.

Principle #3:  Organize Your Work

 God organized the implementation of His plans into seven creative periods. The Bible calls them “days” but what’s important is that He broke down the development of His plans into phases. This teaches us to be wise and realize that not everything can be done at once. It also illustrates the thinking process that asks the question, “What must come first?”

For example, did it really matter if God created animals or humans first? Probably not. Was it important to have a planet with some dry land available before creating animals, plants and humans? Yes, it was. So in addition to deciding what to create and what the objectives of that creation will be, you must also ask yourself, “What must be done first before I can complete steps x, y, and z?”

Principle #4: Plan for Evolutionary Growth

No, I’m not talking about evolution as the scientists would like to. I’m talking about the technological, artistic and intellectual evolution that has occurred in our world since the creation. We’ve built airplanes and computers. We’ve been to the moon. We’ve developed communication devices that allow us to be in contact with nearly anyone on the planet anytime we choose.

Clearly God didn’t expect us to be content with farming forever! Just as He used the elements to create our world and everything in it, He also provided us the raw materials to be used for creation within our world. The only reason we are able to create most of the technology that exists today is that God placed the raw materials here for us to work with before man ever set foot on the earth.

Just as we have evolved from an agricultural society to something far greater than Adam or Eve could have ever imagined, your work, your creations, have the potential for growth. And you must ask yourself, “If this ______________ (i.e., company, book, song, website, school, community, etc.) were to evolve to its highest form, what might that look like?” And if you want your project or work to grow to that level, you must then answer a second question, “If I want it to reach its highest potential, what must I have in place right now at the beginning to encourage that growth and make it possible?”

Principle #5:  Recognize the Goodness and Godliness in Your Work

 In Hebrew, the word “create” as used in the Bible means, “shaped, fashioned, created; always divine activity.” Creation is by nature a divine act. When we create we can draw on inspiration from God to help us in our work.

As we move through the creative process we should also recognize our accomplishments. In Genesis 1 alone, God recognizes and identifies His work as “good” six times. How often do you tell yourself “good job”? How often do you tell your colleagues or team members, “good job”?

As you implement your project or create your work, ask yourself, “Is this good?” If it is, give yourself a pat on the back, show appreciation to others who have helped you in the process, and give thanks to God who is…and always will be…the Author of all creation…including our own.

Applying the Principles of Preparation and Planning

To sum up, here are some ideas about how to apply these five principles in your business:

Plan Your Project. Set aside time to plan your work. Ask yourself questions like:What needs to happen first, second, third, etc.? What are the most vital elements without which my project may fail?

 Be Clear about Your Purpose. Like Stephen Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.” Visualize the highest and best outcome for your work. Then plan your work according to your vision.

Organize Your Project. Divide your project work into seven phases. It will make your project more manageable and will give you milestones to measure your progress by.

Plan for Evolution. Imagine what might happen if your project “went viral”. What are your options for expanding the reach of your project and changing the world for the better?
 
Reward Yourself. Whether at the end of each project phase or at project completion, plan a way to reward yourself and your team for a job well done!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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