Goals, Content, and Environments
There are various ways to approach creating ministry strategy. Here is one approach that has been helpful to me over the years: Goals, Content, and Environments.
Before embarking on a trip, you need to know the destination, and the same is true when developing strategy. Therefore, the first step is to look ahead to the final outcome. To develop a Greenhouse or church planting strategy, a set of required skills in the church planter will need to be outlined. In order to prepare elders to serve in a local church, it will be necessary to delineate the desired character and abilities that they should possess. To construct a discipleship strategy, consideration will need to be given to what a person would need to know in order to thrive as a Christian if they suddenly had to move to a location with no gospel access.
Once the goal is solidly in your mind’s eye, the next step is to detail the specific content that needs to be transmitted. This will likely be a combination of both skill and character development and will involve both information and experience. Some of these items will feel attainable, while others may feel like things only God can do. If this is the case, you’re probably on the right track. It is for these latter items that we include as an element of the strategy, prayer for the person being developed.
Lastly, you’ll need to articulate where, when, and with whom all of this will happen. Begin first by looking at existing structures. Most churches have many environments already in place: Sunday morning worship, Sunday school, small groups, retreats, one-on-one meetings, group text threads, worship team practice, or other team meetings. If these can be utilized, or re-tooled, creating an environment from scratch can be avoided. From here it is simply a matter of prayerfully matching the content to be transmitted with the appropriate environment.
By way of example, consider the following discipleship strategy. The First Church of Alliance Awesomeness has decided that one of their disciple-making goals is prayer: they want their disciples to know how to pray. Taking that goal, they construct the following pieces of content: theology of prayer, intercessory prayer, listening in prayer, and worship in prayer. Further, they have concluded that this needs to include both instruction and experience in order to be adequately taught. Looking, then, to their environments, they identify a well-attended Sunday school class that could easily be used to teach a six-week course on prayer. Also, the pastor will plan to preach a message on one of those six topics every other month so that they are all covered in a year. Finally, they decided to add a “night of prayer and worship” each quarter in addition to making prayer an increasingly important component of their small group ministry for people to learn by experience.
As I mentioned from the outset, there are many ways to develop strategy, but I trust that this is helpful to you – either as a useful model or to stir up creativity for another approach. As always, I am available anytime to discuss strategy, to talk about hurdles you may be encountering, or even to simply serve as a sounding board for ideas you’re contemplating.
Together with you,
firstname.lastname@example.org or (406) 647-2764