Arguing that strategic planning is useful but not defining, he says:
The task for leaders is more about how we cultivate environments that call forth and release the mission-shaped imagination of the people of God in a specific place and time. If cultivation of environments and facilitating the work of God's people is the vocation of mission-shaped leaders, then strategic planning is not simply an I'll-fitting tool; it will never assist us in forming such people.(p77)
This is the same argument he made in Introducing the Missional Church. Hardly surprising, but I made a note of it then and I just felt the importance of it again as I read it here too.
Of course the question is how do you do that? How do you create environments, and what do those environments look like? What does it mean for churches that are still working with old models of strategic planning that treat the future as a predictable outcome of a well oiled plan?
Somehow the plan has to support the mission not define it, but all too often the plan defines the mission because we measure our success or failure against the plan. So, if we are going to change the church then we will have to change the measurement criteria. We need a different scorecard as Reggie McNeal would say.
And we will need to be brave. It won't be easy making these changes. We will wonder if we are measuring the wrong things, diluting the gospel imperative of the church or reducing evangelism to serving the community.
There are no easy answers to any of the questions that arise from these concepts. But the truth is that many of us in leadership and in congregations know that something is wrong, that business as usual doesn't work anymore and hasn't worked for some time, that people no longer share our story or are ready to conform to our preferred future.
Still much to consider and ponder about what comes next for the church in the 21st century.
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