4 Reasons Churches Don't Have a Strategy for Life Change

Booz & Company just recently completed a study asking leaders about their business strategy. Based on their research, they found that most executives don’t believe their company’s strategy is understood by their employees and customers. Even more astonishing, 54% of executives do not believe their company’s strategy will lead to success.

Can you believe that? More than half of businesses are being led by executives who don’t believe their organizations have a plan to experience success. I can only assume these businesses are going through the motions today hoping (and maybe praying) for better future results.

Here’s what’s frightening to me. My gut tells me that if we asked a cross-section of pastors these same questions, that percentage would be even higher. In other words I think there are many churches “doing church” the way they’ve always done church without any confidence that they will experience “success” in their ministry.

Instead of having a clearly defined strategy to help more and more people experience life change, churches are driven by the need to maintain the status quo.

There are several reasons why this happens:

Churches are afraid to define success. They realize that if they establish a clear vision for their future, there’s a new level of accountability from leadership, staff and the congregation. Or, if they do define a vision, it’s so broad that it doesn’t establish any focused direction for where the church is going.

Churches aren’t willing to go through the hard work of establishing and implementing a strategy. It’s just easier to worry about next Sunday’s service instead. Because of that they may have a mission statement hanging on their wall or printed in their weekly bulletin, but they’ve never clearly defined their priority actions to see that vision accomplished.

Churches find it too easy to play the “faith” card. They’re trusting God. They’re praying for results. But their lack of planning, action and accountability indicates to me that they are poor stewards of the people, gifts and resources that God has provided to fulfill his mission. Ironically, this lack of planning and strategy could be an indication of a lack of faith and obedience.

Churches are filled with pastors who are not leaders. Leaders have to build and empower teams. Leaders have to clarify vision and strategy. Leaders have to focus people around priorities of purpose. In other words, sometimes leaders actually have to lead. If you choose to lead strong, you can’t make everyone happy. It’s impossible. And, because many pastors are people pleasers, it’s difficult, if not impossible, for them to articulate a clear vision and strategy.

So, what’s your answer? Do you believe your employees and the people you are trying to reach understand your strategy? More important, do you believe that your ministry strategy will lead to success?

Don’t settle for mediocrity. God has a bigger purpose for you and your ministry.

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Tony Morgan
Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.