v3 2016 create strategies

How to Create Strategies for a Missional Vision

“How to Create Strategies for a Missional Vision” is the second of a three-part series created to help you set a vision for your church or organization and strategize for it. If you haven’t read part one, “A Practical Guide to Having Missional Vision,” you may want to do so, as there are practical exercises I suggest there for determining your organization’s vision.

Back From the Future

Now that you’ve “lived” in the future (i.e., your church community has imagined its vision as if it’s already happened), it’s time to step back into the present.
I find that while most church planters are entrepreneurial, and therefore visionary, we’re also activists. We like doing! Programs, services, small groups, outreaches, dinners, music, etc. Great stuff! But will they lead to God’s intended future as expressed by the vision he gave? And do they richly connect with the context of the city for which, presumably, the church exists?
Standard “church planting 101” points toward exegeting the context, yet I find the discipline of reflection, listening and praying as precursors to strategy development difficult.
[Tweet “We should pause and reflect, listen and research before initiating programs and activities.”] As my British friends say, I want to “get on with it.” It’s interesting that Jesus waited until well into his adult life to start ministry–and only after forty days of prayer and fasting followed by resisting temptation at that. There’s mystery in these episodes of Jesus’ life, but we know Jesus wisely learned his context as evidenced in his insightful communication strategies and his ability to connect.
I encourage us to pause and prayerfully reflect, listen, and research before initiating programs and activities.

From Vision to Strategy

Strategy is the means to work toward the vision. Strategies can be expressed in programs, activities, events, practices, and so on, but effective strategies flow from the intersection of the strengths of the faith community and the opportunities of the context.
Notice that I depart from typical convention regarding church and strategy, which usually focuses on the church meeting the needs of the community. Rather than forming strategy to address needs, which I believe creates the potential danger of consumerism and dependency, create strategies by noticing what God has already provided in the team and where God is already at work in the community. Take time to know who you are as a team or church, as well as the context you’re in.
[Tweet “Take time to know who you are as a team or church, as well as the context you’re in.”]

Questions to Create Strategies

Strengths: What are the gifts, talents, assets, competencies and connections of those in your church or the team of persons starting the church?
What political, educational, demographic, societal, technological and religious trends do you notice in your context? These are potential opportunities.
What assets can you identify in your context? These are community resources such as thriving businesses, gatherings, leaders, special places where people meet, institutions, etc.
Capture these observations in ways that everyone can see, such as on flipcharts. Then list your church’s or team’s strengths alongside the contextual factors you captured. I’ll address what to do with these findings in my next V3 blog post.

More Resources

You and your church can find further guidance for this strategizing 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.
Develop missional strategies with the help of V3 coaching & Cohorts!

About the Author

Shelley Trebesch

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