“The Winning Combination for a Missional Vision” is the final installment of a three-part series created to help you set a vision for your church or organization and strategize for it. If you missed part one, “A Practical Guide to Having Missional Vision,” or part two, “How to Create Strategies for a Missional Vision,” you are encouraged to check them out, as they include both foundational material and practical exercises essential to determining your organization’s vision.
Strengths + Opportunities = Strategies
The book of Acts provides insight for us in strategy development.
Certainly the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the temple in AD 70 at the hands of Roman soldiers seemed a potential threat to Judaism and the fledgling Jesus movement. Yet, led by the Holy Spirit, Paul and his team connected their strengths to this opportunity and developed strategies that changed the world.
Devised in their first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas, and later Paul and other members of the team, traveled to significant cities where the Jewish diaspora lived. Their strategic pattern in each city was the same: proclaim the good news first in the synagogue.
If and when the opposition became too great, they moved to homes or marketplace gatherings to continue proclaiming. Once a faith community was established, they appointed elders to shepherd the new churches, and as directed by the Holy Spirit or when persecution intensified, moved on to other cities to continue the same strategy (see Acts 13:13-52 and Acts 14:1-25).
Paul’s strengths, gifts, and experiences included a bicultural, multilingual, cosmopolitan upbringing with a Pharisaical education perfectly intersected with the contexts of exiled Jews in Greek/Roman cities. Paul’s teammates were similar but also contributed other gifts and experiences.
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Following a Pauline Strategy
In like manner, effective strategy development flows from the intersection of people’s strengths, assets, gifts and experiences with the opportunities (where we see the kingdom of God) of the context. Looking at your church’s (or team’s) list of strengths—the one developed from my previous post—alongside your list of opportunities/assets captured from your context, notice the connections. In what ways do these connections point toward strategies?
Remember, strategies are the means we use to accomplish the vision. Once you’ve created strategies from these connections, you’re ready to consider programs, events, activities, etc. that flow from the strategies.
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An Example from an Urban Church
Life Church conducted a similar process to the one I have just outlined above. When connecting the list of church strengths with opportunities, they noticed one significant theme. A number of Life Church members were connected to and had experience in the school district (parents, teachers, and one principal), and the school district had an amazing openness to this community. For example, it had set up an adopt-a-school program where private citizens could donate school supplies and actively sought volunteers for various programs.
Seeing this connection, Life Church developed strategies that engaged schools in their neighborhood. They adopted two elementary schools and donated school supplies. Their college students started an after-school tutoring program for elementary-aged children. Several adults joined two teachers and developed a mentoring process to help vulnerable high school students finish school and get into college. Over time, these strategies engaged families who then became a part of Life Church. Connecting the church’s strengths with assets in the community enabled Life Church to authentically engage their context.
Further Resources on the Winning Combination
You and your church can find further guidance for this visioning process in
Made to Flourish: Beyond Quick Fixes to A Thriving Organization
and by utilizing the church planting resources and strategies of the V3 Movement.
Set and Stick to the Vision with V3 Coaching & Cohorts!
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