“It is your STRATEGY, not your MISSION that will ultimately determine your success.” – Reggie Joiner
Your church has a very strategic leader in it. This person is there every weekend making sure that things go as planned.
- It is not the senior pastor.
- It is not the children’s pastor
- It is not the student pastor
- It’s not even the worship leader
The strategic person in your church is the one in the parking lot who places the traffic cones. This person understands how strategically placing those little orange cones can ultimately direct two tons of steel in the direction that they should go.
As leaders, we spend a TON of time on the vision, mission and values. This is a very important thing. But having a solid mission doesn’t promise success. I have seen many leaders develop an awesome mission only to fail down the road. They fail because they didn’t create a strategy that showed them how to get to where they wanted to be.
Sometimes with the pace of life and ministry, it can be easy to lose sight of the end goal and just focus on the “now.” We can get lost in the daily details to where we eventually look around and notice that we no longer know where we are going.
In my time as a consultant and church leader, one of the most common things I have helped churches work through is over programming. Many churches in America today have so many programs it would be hard to truly understand what their mission is by looking at their calendar of events.
Think about your church for a minute. Could I tell you what your mission is by looking at your calendar of events?
If your answer is “no” then you are in the right place. It is time to develop an integrated strategy for moving forward that aligns your team, knocks down silos and keeps the end in mind. Here are some thoughts to help you create an integrated strategy that will ensure your success in pursuing the mission.
1. Keep the end in mind. If I am going on a road trip, I first need to know where I am going. If I don’t know where I am going I would be spending way more money than I wanted to and definitely losing sanity because my children in the back seat want to know when we are going to get there. It would be insane for someone to leave for vacation and not know where they are going. This is true for us as leaders. What is your ultimate goal? What ultimate experience do you want the people at your church to have? What is the end game for their involvement? After you have determined this, NEVER let it take a back seat in your conversations with your team.
2. Think in steps, not programs. Programs are programs. When you think of them as just programs they become self-contained. When one program is over it is over. Then the next program starts and so on. When you think in steps, each step should be drawing you closer to the end your team has decided upon. Steps show a path forward and keep a record of where you have come from.
3. Align the team. Your team MUST be on the same page when it comes to the end goal and the strategy to get there. If they are not you will most definitely encounter problems as you attempt to move forward. This is sometimes where difficult leadership decisions must be made. If you have team members that won’t align with the end goal and strategy then it might be time to relieve them of their position. This doesn’t matter if they are staff or volunteers. No person should ever be above the unity of the team.
4. Understand that every piece of the strategy is just as important as the others. Guess what? Children’s ministry is as important as the senior pastor’s message to the adults on Sunday morning. The student ministry is as important as the children’s ministry program. The parking lot emptying and refilling between services is as important as the worship set. When your team begins thinking like this, avoiding turf wars, your strategy can really take flight. Even though the job descriptions might be different, it is important for the team to understand that no step of the journey is less important than the other. If one fails, they all fail.
5. Never stop talking about the strategy. Be a broken record! Carve out time in your regular staff meetings to evaluate your end goal and review the steps. Are they working? Do you need to re-evaluate and innovate? Are there things happening around the church that are making the waters muddy when it comes to keeping the end goal on the forefront?
Always keep the end in mind, align your team and create steps that show a clear path for success. This is what creating an integrated strategy is all about!
Related Resource: For a deeper dive into creating an integrated strategy, check out the Orange Essentials DVD!