I am going to admit this straight off the bat: I was in a high school chess club. While most of my peers were outside playing footy or socialising with the opposite gender, I spent a lot of my lunchtime breaks in the library with a chess board and some close friends. If that makes me a nerd, I’m ok with that. If this makes me a square, I’m ok with this as well. But one thing I believe this does make me is a strategic thinker.
You see, the beauty of chess is that in order for one to be successful, they must have the ability to think three or four moves ahead whilst being able to forecast what will happen. This is the same mentality that I bring into how I conduct ministry. I am always thinking of better ways to do things and usually have a timeline in which I would like to see them achieved. The problem is that ministry isn’t a game of chess: ministry is about people, and sowing into relationships.
I once knew a pastor who had this balance completely out of whack. He would not only invest in, but would only talk to people that he felt he could use as part of his strategy. The concerning this was, that for the majority of on-lookers, this was very evident. His pure strategy approach to ministry was essentially his undoing. At the same time, I’ve met many pastors who are the opposite; they are so focused on relationship that they fail to cast vision, and subsequently forgo strategy.
So this raises the ultimate question; a tension; where is the balance between strategy and authenticity? I think it all boils down to one thing; intent.
What is your intent in ministry? Is it to build a ministry so large that it makes you and/or your abilities shine? Or is to because you love people? I strongly encourage us to focus on the latter. We should do ministry that feeds into our vision; that should be the driver behind our relationships.
We sow into people because we love people and want to see people saved. It’s that simple. The strategy is just a means to this end. Relationship should always come first, but without caveats or ulterior motives. When we love people, we love Jesus and His Great Commission.
Ideally, it’s healthy to have a primary focus of authenticity; we do ministry because we love people, and want to see them come to and flourish in their faith. Without strategy, this can be difficult. What’s our blueprint for ministry success; I would say a mixture of prayer, humility and strategy in how we can best reach the lost.
What do you think?