Case Study: An Introduction to “Strategy”

Welcome back to our Case Study; grab some coffee and pull up a chair!

When we last met, my plan was to get right into the nitty-gritty of strategy, planning and action steps today, but then a funny thing happened yesterday, and it gave me pause…

I was speaking with a pastor from an entirely different church about direction and transformation. He is sending people from his congregation to a training session, or more precisely, to a series of training sessions.  This is a two-year series, and the sessions are excellent, but when the question was asked by another about what that church will be doing with the training they gained, the pastor responded by saying that they would follow the direction the Holy Spirit provides when the time comes.  At first, this seems a very reasonable thing to say.  Of course you follow the direction the Holy Spirit leads, who can argue with that?

The problem is that the Holy Spirit has provided these wonderful folks without any particular direction for a very long time, and as a result, they have been going nowhere, adrift and lukewarm for a long time… with predictable results.  All agree that transformation is sorely needed, in fact “transformation” is their word, not mine, so they wait for direction…

Why do we set our Bibles aside and wait for special revelation from the Holy Spirit?  We already have His revelation (general revelation) in His Word!  I’ve previously posted on this subject in these Case Studies. I’ve also posted previously here on leadership. When you put the two of these together, it becomes very clear that Biblical leaders do something more than wait for the Spirit to tell them what to do; they actually get started!  The guidance we need is already in Scripture! As we go, the Spirit will lead us along, but if we sit around and wait for the Spirit to say, “OK, boys and girls, you can do something now,”  we are kidding ourselves, because Jesus has already given us the go-ahead command: “Therefore go…”

Strategy, another word that people often object to, is nothing more than reflecting on what the Scriptures teach, looking at the situation as it exists now, and planning some steps to get where we should be already, based upon what we glean from Scripture.  We do this prayerfully and carefully, understanding that our plans aren’t perfect, and that as we move forward, the Spirit will guide us to make corrections as necessary, and also with the understanding that we need to be listening for this leading.

Getting started comes first, leading comes second, because in the initial phase, we aren’t waiting for Him, He’s waiting for us to obey the command to go!

What is going to happen with the church that is sending its people to training classes?  Nothing whatsoever, until one of them says, “Hey, maybe we should start thinking about getting around to doing something.”  Did Jesus have a plan? Yes! only we call it “The Plan.”  Did the Apostles plan their journeys to spread the Gospel?  Well, the particulars may not all be recited in Scripture, but when Paul set out on his journeys, it would appear that he knew the direction he was heading in, wouldn’t you agree? It would also seem that he knew what he would say and do when he got there, right?  Sorry, waiting around for special revelation is nothing more than an excuse!

Now, with that all said and done, tomorrow we’ll get into the Case Study specifics.  See you there!

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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4 Responses to Case Study: An Introduction to “Strategy”

  1. Little Monk says:

    One of the great “church traps” I know, is the belief that “God calls forth minisTRIES”, rather than understanding that “God calls forth minisTERS”.

    The most dynamic churches I’ve seen, and pastors I’ve served under, understood this.

    In LOTS of churches, people come forward from time to time to say… “Pastor, God’s laid it on my heart that this church should have a ‘such-and-such’ ministry.” And in some churches, the Pastor says something like, “Wow. That’s a really great idea!” or “Yes, you should mention that at the next Church Council Meeting.” or “Yes, we should look into that when God makes the way for it.” or… (even worse)… “No, no we don’t.” In churches like this, there is often no forward movement.

    In SOME churches, where I’ve been blessed to work, from time to time… that same statement made to the Pastor meets an entirely different reception. The Pastor whips out a pen and pad, looks up, and says, “What did the Lord lay on your heart that you would need from us, as a church, for you to handle this ministry?” That Pastor knows that when the Lord lays such a burden on a praying disciple, He may have (or soon will) also disclose a vision for how to provide the ministry, and have selected the right disciple for the task.

    That second Pastor, isn’t the micromanagement, over-extending, “provider of all grace, ministry, and service” for their church. That Pastor sees the role as “coordinator of ministries”, “encourager”, “mentor”, and over all “cat herder”, responsible for keeping order amidst the excitement of the Holy Spirit reaching people in many ways.

    Of course, there’s no such thing as a “routine day at work”, on that second church staff. But it’s a lot more fun than the first.

    Grace — LM

  2. They way I heard this put once was that ‘it is always easier to steer a moving vehicle’. Love what you say here 🙂

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