Peter Drucker is famously attributed to the quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” - Here’s the bad news. Peter Drucker didn’t say it. Here’s the even worse news. The quote isn’t true.
The thinking is that you can have all the plans you want, but the culture dictates what will happen. Surely, get the culture right and everything else follows? Wrong.
This is not to downplay the role of culture. A great culture is vital. But culture speaks more to how you will do what you do, strategy is more about working out what you will do.
Without strategy, you won’t do anything at all. Think of a multiplication sum: culture is a multiplier, but 0 x 100 = 0. You can have the greatest culture, but unless you get things done, your culture is useless.
Without a clear strategy, your church will be ineffective. Without a clear culture, your church will be tasteless. Without a clear mission, your church will be meaningless.
We’ve identified three strategies that we believe every church needs, so if you want to be effective, think about these three things:
The Great Commission is clear: go and make disciples. But when we think of discipleship, we often think of someone sitting down one-on-one and talking through the basics of faith.
Whilst this is good, it’s not an effective strategy for discipling lots of people. It’s the difference between fishing with a rod and fishing with a net. Both catch fish, but a net catches more.
To disciple lots of people you need to identify a discipleship pathway: environments that will help people take steps to towards maturity in Christ. This becomes the framework for your church’s activity, and you turn all church programmes into a discipleship pathway.
As I wrote about recently, we need to start catching fish with a net, not a rod.
John Maxwell is famed for saying that leaders are the lid of an organisation. He also said that everything rises and falls on leadership. That means that if you want to reach your potential as a church, you’re going to need the right leaders to do it.
Leadership is identified as a gift in Romans 12, but we shouldn’t confuse this with it being an “us and them” situation. Just like there is the gift of Prophecy, but the Apostle Paul encourages everyone to prophesy, so it is with leadership. It is a gift that the Holy Spirit places on some, but we should all be developed in our leadership. And that won’t happen without some intentionality.
One of the best ways to grow leaders in your church is to create a ‘leadership pipeline’ - this is where you create leadership levels within the church and map your current roles to this pipeline. You can then offer emerging leaders a ‘next step’ in their leadership development by moving to a new role that has a higher leadership competency.
Church growth is a bit of a hot potato, and can become a contentious topic. Are we just after organisational growth, that is, do we just want more people coming to our worship services, do we just want more money coming in via offerings… do we just want to look successful?
We think that church health is more important than church growth, but healthy things grow. And healthy things should grow as long as they remain healthy. Look at people who have suffered from gigantism, growth that takes you out of health is dangerous, and will stop you being effective.
How big should a church be? As big as it can be healthy. The bigger problem in the U.K. isn’t gigantism, it’s dwarfism. Our lack of health is keeping us small.
With that being said, if you want to reach more people with the Gospel, you need a strategy for it. By identifying the growth engines that will help your church grow numerically, you can begin to prioritise your resource into reaching more people for Jesus.
If you need help putting these strategies in place, we can help. Book a FREE 1-Hour Consultation to discuss where your church is at and how we can help.