DO WE NEED A STRATEGY FOR MANAGING CHRISTIAN MINISTRY?
Want a successful church/ministry? Want to impact lives and communities with Gospel values? Then you need to think and plan strategically. Archbishop Doyé Agama shares how
Proverbs 29:18 says, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ Hosea 4:6 says, ‘My people perish from lack of knowledge.’ Habakkuk 2:2 says, ‘And the LORD answered me, and said, “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it”’(KJV).
Don’t be too spiritual to manage the blessing! Praying for a blessing requires responsibility to plan and prepare for recognising, receiving and making the best use of the blessing when it manifests. Warfare without control is chaos. Chaos only causes chaos! The actualisation of vision requires a process. Anything in creation that sustains an expected output must function in a state of order, and order is the required process of turning vision into destiny. A vision from heaven often does not become reality on earth, without a communication of some practical knowledge (Exodus 25:40). You must actualise in order to realise!
Strategic planning is the central and essential component of strategic management. This planning process uses a broad range of information or intelligence inputs, which must be correctly analysed and effectively applied, in the actual context of the problem. Strategic management converts the long- and medium-term goals of the strategic vision into a strategic plan (Planning stage). It then uses the strategic plan to methodically assemble and coordinate all organisational procedures and processes to achieve the strategic goals (Programme/Project stage), with adequate monitoring to sustain quality and sufficient flexibility to adjust to changing circumstances (Ongoing Monitoring and Response).
To plan strategically, you must first think strategically! If you want the strategic answers, you need to ask the strategic questions. No intelligence is useless. The trick is having the right frameworks (processes) and wisdom (human operatives) in place to make the right judgment call, at the right time, and to follow through appropriately to your best advantage.
Strategy belongs to the realm of possibility, probability and prediction. It therefore requires mental or intellectual effort, and sometimes a positive sense of the greater possibilities of being, or, what some would call, a higher spirituality. However, a prediction by itself is not a strategy. Strategy requires policy, and policy in turn requires activation of proper process to become reality.
21st century apostolic ministry strategies should cover the geographical, jurisdictional, historical and prophetic realms; in creating a contemporary, biblically orthodox vision for Christian ministry. True apostolic pastors should be able to formulate, implement and evaluate their ministry strategy to actualise their God-given vision. Strategic ministry management is a vital component.
Strategic ministry management is that process of formulation, actualisation and realisation of your ministry strategy. Strategic ministry management is the practical means of clarifying and achieving the ministry vision. It is the creation and utilising of wide-ranging policies, in line with the original God-given vision, that:
- are both practical and spiritual
- coordinate all the efforts of the ministry
- meet long-term ministry objectives
Strategic management acts first at a high level to set the direction of the organisation, and to develop the plans, policies and processes that will bring the vision to reality using all available resources. It is also an ongoing progression to understand the internal and external environment of the ministry, and to align the internal to achieve the best result from the external.
This usually means that the senior ministry leadership need to understand their God-given vision in terms of the environment in which their ministry operates, as well as the strengths and challenges of their own organisation.
Senior leadership then set out ministry objectives to fit the vision, and communicate these to the staff and membership as a realistic and practical strategic plan for achieving the vision. Ideally, there should be a covenant bond that creates a deep relationship between leaders and those they lead; and, in particular, other existing and emerging leadership.
Your strategy must link to your exact identity in the vision. Identity is often one of the major keys to destiny. True success is faithfulness in what God has sent YOU to do. If you don’t know what real success is for you, it will be hard to know if you get there. In receiving your vision from God, also understand that your skills and gifts, and your position in time and place, are still key resources in successful strategy for that vision.
Some key thoughts:
No one really requires a strategy where everything is known and all outcomes are certain. The true power of strategy is in the enabling of chosen outcomes, even in the midst of an uncertain environment.
What destroys an army in battle is not what happens between soldiers at the front line, but rather the inability of commanders to take sound, strategic, military decisions at critical moments in the conflict.
Senior leaders, who fail to prepare the next generation, have unwittingly decided that their success cannot outlive them.
Archbishop Doye Agama is a Certified Management Consultant. This article is an excerpt from a scholarly paper entitled An Introduction to Strategic Ministry Management. For further details, visit www.mindstrategies.co.uk.