By F. Joe Ellis
Effectively communicating vision in the church is one of the most important functions of leadership. It must not only be made believable, but also necessary. When a vision is God-given it will almost always create a sense of urgency. That urgency to act is the true igniter behind progressive positive change. A God ordained vision will always be bigger than one person or one church’s ability and resources. Because of this, there will always be risk involved that will challenge one’s faith to its limits.
As leaders, we do not just have a right to lead; it is our calling and responsibility. In the kingdom of God, leadership must point the church back to the heart of God which is evangelism. God wills that all men be saved and come unto the knowledge of truth.
It is the responsibility of leadership to keep evangelism at the forefront of our function as a church and continue to build the necessary processes that will channel it effectively. Whatever we need to clear off the calendar to ensure that prayer, evangelism and leadership development remain our primary business, then we must do it. We must simplify for excellence! Without question, this is one of the greatest challenges the church faces in this post modern age.
If a passion for prayer and evangelism is ever birthed in the church, it must first start in the leaders. Anthony Mangun said, speaking to the ministers at Because of the Times in 2005, “We must first make sure we connect ourselves to God, before we will ever effectively connect anyone else to God!”
Leaders first and fore most must be people who think strategically! The days of running God’s business on a fly is long gone. Working harder is not what is needed to harvest the 21st Century. Working smarter is. As leaders who have the responsibility of strategically leading the church, we must not be afraid to make changes or take what ever risks God is leading us to take! God will give very clear and specific direction if we will pray and think strategically. The momentum for the greatest harvest the church has ever known is upon us. The future is now, so let’s act like it!
Putting Together a Strategic Team
Many pastors are finding it very beneficial to put together a strategic team of leaders in the church. In some churches that team is made up from the ministry staff. In others, it may be two to five highly trustworthy and committed leaders that the Pastor knows is full of the Holy Ghost and has the gift of leadership in their life.
Regardless of the size or the people who make up the team, the purpose of the team is to join with the pastor to pray and think strategically under the leadership of the Holy Ghost. The following is a sample of the purpose statement and team duties that we have found to be very helping in guiding our team in Canton .
Team Purpose: To do visionary thinking, planning and preparation; to ask and discuss the difficult questions; to effectively chart, adjust and coordinate the forward progress of the work in all phases of operation; to keep the church spiritually focused on its God given vision, purpose and mission.
Team Duties: The strategic team must strive to identify and remove the limiting factors of the church that hinder its effectiveness and forward progress. The word of God and the will of God are its standard. Fulfilling its God given purpose must be its passion. Excellence must be the bar for every phase of the church, and nothing less will be accepted.
As important as scheduling the calendar is to the overall success of the church, the strategic team’s primary function is to serve at a much higher level. It is vital that each member of the strategic team be totally committed to the long-range purpose and vision of church and its success. Each member adds incredible value to the team, and needs to be heard from in every meeting. However, team unity alone is not its primary goal. (We can all agree and be totally wrong.) Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3) is what the team must strive to achieve. “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” (Ps. 127:1)
Let me close out this simple article by giving a list of ongoing questions that every team should ask if it is going to think strategically.
* Understanding the importance of the principle “Who?” first, then “What?” (Good to Great, By Jim Collins).
* Do we have the right people on the bus?
* Are they in the right seats and are they functioning in their strengths?
* What are the limiting factors or barriers that are hindering the forward progress as a church?
* What clutter do we need to clear away, so that we can simplify for excellence?
* Is the Lord building our House?
* How many teams / ministries are active and in place, and who actually makes up those teams?
* Do we have the right “Who?” leading each team, and do they know their specific role and responsibility?
* Who is keeping them responsible?
* Do we have any ministry that is not functioning effectively and if so, should it be disbanded or regrouped?
* Do we have any new leadership trainees that are ready to be utilized?
* If so, who are they and where do we see them fitting?
* Do we have the necessary processes in place for each ministry to handle the coming harvest God has promised?
* If so, what are they? Let us do a quick review, and evaluate their progress. Dead; Poor; Fair; Good; Excellent!
* Whose responsibility is it to make sure each process is in place and functioning correctly?
* What accountability system is in place to make sure things get done?
* Does our community know we exist?
* If not, why not?
* If so, list and discuss the reasons why.
* More importantly, what changes need to be made to get the word out more effectively?
* More than our name, our community should know us for what we do. What are we doing?
* What do we have scheduled in the next three months, six months or year to serve and impact our community in a significant way?
* Does our current service schedule serve us best for effect evangelism?
* Does our current schedule and calendar leave room for evangelism beyond our scheduled service times?
* If not, then what changes do we need to make?
* It is obvious we can not add to our schedule with out cutting something else, so what do we need to change and what do we need to add?
* Is Jesus the Lord over our schedule?
* Is He building our house?
* When is our next strategic team meeting?
“Strategically Thinking”. Written by F. Joe Ellis
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”