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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

15 Mar '13

Before you determine strategy

Posted by T.J. Addington in clarity, missional clarity, strategy
As an organizational leader and consultant I encounter many can do people with lots of creative ideas as to what the ministry they are a part of should be doing. Readers of this blog know that I love creative ideas. However, ideas and strategies can also be your undoing if you don't do some critical work first.

Before you go to strategy you need to go to another harder place - ministry clarity. Ministry clarity answers the four key questions every organization needs to answer: Why are we here? What are our non-negotiable guiding principles? What do we need to do day in and day out to maximize our impact? and What culture must we create in order to see our dreams realized. 

Without clarity which becomes the true north of your ministry strategies (whether good or bad) are merely floating ideas which may or may well not contribute to your end result. 

It is only when you know the specific direction you are to go that strategies come into play and the ones you choose should only be those that allow you to move toward the direction you have chosen. Many ideas will take you somewhere. The question is whether they will take you toward the God given vision you have articulated as to where your ministry needs to go. Many ideas and strategies will actually be counter productive to where you want to end up which is why clarity must come before strategy.

As a consultant I am often asked early in a relationship if the ministry should do thus and so. My answer is always "I have no idea." That surprises ministry leaders until I explain that until they have clarity on where they need to go there is no point in discussing specific ideas and strategies. It is truly the cart before the horse.

Many ministries do a lot of good things but never achieve the impact they could have. Usually that is because there is insufficient clarity to guide their decision making process. Clarity is always first, other issues come second. Chapters two, three and four in Leading From the Sandbox are all about getting to clarity. If you know this is a need for your ministry I would encourage you to take a look.