Four Errors of Church Strategy

A church benefits from both spiritual and strategic leadership. The latter must not overpower the former, as spiritual leadership must trump strategic leadership—but both serve a church well. When a ministry leader leads well, the ministry will receive strategic direction, even if a different term is used. As ministry leaders seek to organize the work of the ministry and mobilize people to serve one another, here are four common errors in church strategy to avoid:

1. An Absent Strategy

In my experience, the majority of ministry leaders can tell you why they do what they do. If you ask, you will likely receive answers like “He called me to this,” “For His glory,” or “So the Church may be built up.” Many church leaders can tell you what they are compelled to do. “Our church exists to make disciples,” for example. But very few ministry leaders can tell you how they do what they do or how their ministries are designed to make disciples.

2. A Disconnected Strategy

While an absent strategy is common, a disconnected one is worse. Mission is what a ministry or organization seeks to accomplish, and strategy is the how. If a church has a strategy disconnected from making disciples, then another mission is driving the church. Therefore, if a church’s strategy is not connected to making disciples, then the church has adopted a mission other than the one Christ gave to His people.

3. A Photocopied Strategy

Many leaders photocopy a strategy they find elsewhere and attempt to reverse-engineer it into their context. It is one thing to learn from others, and it is quite another to implement someone else’s strategy as if that context and yours are the same.

4. A Complicated Strategy

As a church grows and matures, there is an inevitable pull toward complexity. There is a temptation and proclivity to add layers of bureaucracy and to fill calendars with lots of events and programs. As a church drifts toward complexity, staff become program managers instead of equippers. A simple strategy fights against the inevitable drift of complexity. When the strategy is simple, the most important environments that flow from the mission of making disciples are emphasized.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 
A great question! Unfortunately, the Church Unique Kit is no longer available in print form. We are working on revising it and updating it into an online experience, but that project is at least six months out. An alternative is to come to an upcoming certification class. There is one May 15-18 in Houston, and October 23-26 in Atlanta.
 
— VRcurator
 

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