Why is a biblical strategy critical for the church?
The word strategy has a strong military history. The Greeks developed military strategies. The Art of War has guided military generals and soldiers throughout the years. Even the Old Testament reveals various military strategies from Abraham to Joshua.
However, with the growth of the industrial revolution, strategic planning for organizations escalated. Organizations developed strategies to increase profits, develop employees, and drive sales.
Soon, the church growth movement would usher in an era of strategic planning for the local church. Strategic planning for increased budgets, oversized buildings, marketing campaigns, and worship attendance became the norm. Annual ministry evaluations focused on analyzing the strategy designed by the minister and grading the minister based on performance.
In the book Future Church, Will Mancini states the Great Commission given by Jesus has become, “Go into all the world and make more worship attenders, baptizing them in the name of small groups and teaching them to volunteer a few hours a month.”
After reading a brief history of military and local church strategy, is a strategy necessary? Jesus has given the true, glorious mission in Matthew 28:19-20. Isn’t Go and make disciples all we need?
A mission without a strategy is a slogan. Not only does your church have a biblical mission given by Jesus, but your church also has a biblical strategy for the mission. A biblical strategy is critical for the local church because a strategy creates order, provides intentionality, and is clearly practical.
A Biblical Strategy Creates Order
Aubrey Malphurs wrote a book titled Advanced Strategic Planning. Defining strategy, he wrote, “The strategy tells how to do what we’re supposed to do. It is the overall process that enables a church to accomplish its mission. (Page 169)” Strategy provides clarity for the mission.
Guiding the Corinthian church, Paul wrote in First Corinthians 14:40, “All things should be done decently and in order.” An orderly approach to accomplishing God’s mission for God’s glory is wise and honors God. Without an orderly process to achieve the mission, each church member can design their own method.
So how can you begin developing a biblical strategy for your local church? First, prayerfully consider organizing a team to develop a strategy. A team of church members who are bought into the local church's mission will work together to design a strategy specifically for your church.
Next, lead the team in exploring the biblical strategy together. What does the Bible say about the mission? Does Jesus give a strategy for implementing the mission? Some passages for your team to consider are Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, and Acts 2.
Finally, rely on prayer. A strategy not centered upon prayer and depending on the congregation's strength will not succeed in the mission God has for the local church. The mission of God is spiritual work, and the strategy design must rely on prayer.
A Biblical Strategy Provides Intentionality
Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Obviously, the local church will not fail. Jesus said gates of hell will not prevail against the church. So, whether your church has a well-defined strategic plan will not matter in the end. Jesus is leading His Church to fulfill His mission, and the Church will not fail.
Still, you have the freedom to consider your community and evaluate why your church exists. A church that develops its strategy focused on itself will stray from the mission given by God and only exist to please its members. However, a local church that designs its strategy led by the Holy Spirit, centered on prayer, and strives to focus on others, will cheerfully submit its strategy to God.
The local church that desires to fulfill the mission God has revealed in His Word will begin with outreach in the local community. A local church that does not have a heart for the local community will have trouble reaching the community. But a local church with a passion for reaching the community will intentionally make disciples. The biblical command states plainly the call to make disciples, not simply worship attendees.
A Biblical Strategy is Clearly Practical
Finally, a biblical strategy is clearly practical. Acts 1:8 gives a practical strategy for any local church to implement the mission given by Jesus. First, a local church strategy must be Holy Spirit-led. Without the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the local church is headed in the wrong direction. Acts 1:8 begins, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” A strategy that the Spirit of God does not lead may have ambitious goals, but the strategy will not be Christ-centered.
Next, a local church strategy must be a witness to the resurrected Christ. A local church that doesn’t include telling others about the powerful resurrection of Jesus in their strategy misses the mission’s goal.
Finally, the local church must take the message of the resurrected Christ globally. Starting in their own community, Jesus instructed in Acts 1:8, “You will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” This passage reveals a geographical strategy for the local church to begin the mission within the local community and expand the mission into the entire world. A strategy that is Holy Spirit empowered, focused on telling others about Jesus, and eager to share the message to the entire world gives a practical strategy for the entire congregation to grasp.
The mission is the same for every church; however, each church's strategy may look different. But a strategy is critical for a church of any size. Prayerfully consider developing a strategy for your congregation. If you would like more information about creating a strategy for your church, I would be honored to help. Please scroll to the bottom of the page and contact me through email.
Does your church have a strategy? If so, share in the comments below the link to your church. Share ways the strategy has been helpful in living for the mission Jesus gave.