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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.

01 Feb '15

Taking the long view of ministry strategy and results

Posted by T.J. Addington
A key factor in ministry success is whether we take a short or long term view regarding our plans and strategies. Many leaders are impatient and reactive and in their pursuit of ministry success they chase strategies that yield quick results at the cost of long term success.

A long term view of ministry results recognizes that you must lay a strong foundation upon which to build for lasting results. This includes finding the right people (staff or volunteers) who can help you get to your destination and creating a healthy results oriented culture in which the staff works. A third component of the foundation is having absolute clarity about what you are about, what your goals are and how you intend to get there. The right staff, a healthy culture and ministry clarity take time but any shortcuts here will short change your long term success.

Even with these three components in place, any strong ministry strategy must be built carefully and systematically. All too often we tend to substitute action (lets get going) for the hard work of thinking through philosophy and strategy that will yield long term results. The better the thinking on the front end, the better the results in the end. This is particularly true when your work involves change from the past. The process you choose will determine whether it is permanent change or a blip on the screen.

What gets in the way of building a strong foundation? First, we are often way too impatient to see something happen and shortchange the work we need to do to ensure that what we are building is built to last. Second, the foundational work is frankly hard work. It requires time, thinking and dialogue with the right people to put in place the framework for what you are trying to build. It is easy to default to action without the requisite deep thinking and analysis that good strategy requires. Third, too often we are chasing quick wins and while nice, quick ends usually don't yield long term results.

There is an ironic twist to the many conferences we go to in order to learn the secrets of success - often put on by large churches. They got where they are in most cases by a deliberate process of moving in the same direction toward a strategic goal. They did the work to ensure it lasted which is why their success was years in the making. We want to emulate them so we quickly rip off their strategies - forgetting that it was not the program or specific strategy that got them to where they are but a deliberate journey of clarity, patience, deep thinking and a long term strategy to achieve long term results. 

Long term success takes longer than short term wins. It also yields way more fruit than the latter. It is harder, slower, more work but ultimately it wins hands down in ministry results.

All of T.J. Addington's books including his latest, Deep Influence,  are available from the author for the lowest prices and a $2.00 per book discount on orders of ten or more.