They specifically pointed at how easy strategic decisions can become ends to themselves, and our focus on budgets, teams, partnerships, events, and programs can become unhinged from the desire to see God's Kingdom unfold in the lives of our neighbors and friends.
It really clicked for me.
I have been learning more about leadership (and in particular, how important the strategic structures of our church actually are), and simultaneously I have been realizing just how critical vision is to our community. Vision is hard to communicate, but when people have been gripped by a compelling vision they will sell everything, and commit decades of their lives towards realizing that vision.
It is here that vision and strategy need to align. If that strategy is not meaningfully and effectively aligned with that vision, then the vision CANNOT be realized.
All of this had the effect of helping me see clearly how important it is that we connect all three dots as often as possible in our own minds, and in the minds of those we lead.
- When we tell stories in our church, we must tie those stories directly to vision and strategy.
- When we share our strategies with our church, we must tie it to vision and story.
- When we cast vision, we must do so within the context of stories and communal strategies.
When people hear a story about someone who was led by the Spirit to spend an evening in conversation and prayer with a neighbor, they will be moved emotionally. But if we can also connect that story to our vision to be a neighborhood church and to see the Blessings of God's Kingdom transform our neighborhood, it will have power to invite others into similar actions. And if we can also connect that story and vision to our strategies around Missional Service, our summer BBQs, our service partnerships, and people's individual vocation, THEN we will have hit the sweet spot.
When we tie all three together, then the story becomes a way of making the Big Picture the defining reality for people, and the Strategy a compelling course of action.