The simplest way to explain strategy is planning for tomorrow, today.
We must stop once a year to gain perspective on where we stand as churches when it comes to our effectiveness. Everything we do has a life cycle, and nothing lasts forever. @@Too often, we waste our resources rescuing the things that are dying and neglect to maximize the things that are growing.@@
Our staff team at Mission just went through two intense days of the StratOp Process, developed by Tom Paterson. We spent almost the entirety of day one gaining perspective on where we’ve been and where we currently stand. The best exercise we did was the Life Cycle Analysis.
Here’s how it works:
Make an exhaustive list of everything you do as a church. And I mean everything. Everything you do that currently has any life in it. Then plot it on the chart asking these questions:
Is it accelerating?
- Is it brand new and just catching momentum?
- Has it picked up steam with even better days ahead of it?
If so, find ways to energize these things with vision, people and dollars.
Is it booming?
- Is it one of your most effective things?
- Is it at the early stages of it’s climb?
- Has it been climbing for awhile and in danger of plateauing?
If so, continue to energize and celebrate the things in the early stages, but be prepared to reinvent the things that are close to their plateau. When things plateau and don’t get reinvented, they begin to decelerate.
Is it decelerating?
- Are its best days behind it?
- Is it starting to lose priority and energy?
If so, chances are low you can rescue it, and chances are high it will begin to tank. What I am learning is to kill it early before it tanks. While this may hurt some people’s feelings in the short run, in the long run it saves resources by allowing you to shift them to things that are accelerating.
Is it tanking?
- Has it lost all of its priority and energy, but it's still hanging around?
- Is it the thing nobody wants to mention, but everybody knows it’s dead?
If so, celebrate the impact it had, and learn when and why it began to decelerate and eventually tank.
Energize the accelerating, celebrate the booming, reinvent the plateauing, kill the decelerating, learn from the tanking.
What are some of your most exciting, accelerating projects? How can you shift your resources to give them more life?
This is the second post in a series on strategy.
- Learn how how strategy can affect your church’s vision and direction: Will You Like Your Church in 3 Years?
- Discover your church's primary customer: Do You Know Your Primary Customer?
- Identify the most important thing in your church right now: What's The Most Important Thing?
- Narrow your team's focus and energy: What Are You Moving Toward?