A Strategy that Directly Fuels Your Mission and Vision Produces Passionate People

One of the dreams of almost every leader is to see every person within an organization motivated by the same mission and vision.

The reality is very few organizations—and very few churches—function that way.

Most leaders have had an unsettling feeling that they might be the most passionate person about their mission, and wonder how on earth to get dozens, hundreds or even thousands of others on board instead of wandering off on their own course.

Well, you can change that. And it’s simpler (and more challenging at the same time) than you think.


Why Strategy Trumps Mission and Vision

If you really want people on board with a vision, your strategy is critical.

In fact, strategy trumps mission and vision. A great mission and vision with a bad strategy will fail.

Stripping everything back to basics will reveal why. (And I’ll use the mission, vision and strategy of Connexus Church where I serve to illustrate it.)

Mission = what we’re called to do. (To lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ)

Vision = why we’re called to do it. (To create a church unchurched people love to attend—this is why we started it!)

Strategy = how we’ll accomplish it. (The steps we’ve chosen to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus)

If you don’t clearly know how you’ll accomplish your mission, well…that’s the problem isn’t it?


Why Anything Goes…Doesn’t

Most leaders have people pleasing tendencies (I blogged about the problems with that here).

That means most of us have a hard time saying no when people ask to start a ministry or program.

The challenge with that of course, is that they often want to do things that they’re passionate about, not the things your organization or church was created to do.

So most church leaders end up with dozens or even hundreds of programs that run off in just as many directions and are sometimes only remotely related to the core purpose of the organization. Are programs like “Pets are People Too” or “Men Who Bike in Spandex Recovery Group” really central to the mission of the Church?

I’m not saying God doesn’t use them, but are those truly the best and most strategic ways to lead people into a growing relationship? They could easily be side projects people at your church engage in, rather than demand a line in the budget and organizational energy.

When you allow programs and ministries to spring up randomly, you get a misaligned organization that’s off mission.

And as anybody who has tried to shut down some of these random ministries knows, sometimes these programs can behave like fortresses. They very passionately defend their right to exist.


Engagement Is Directly Related to Involvement

And that leads us to the main problem.

If you remember only ONE THING about this post, remember this:

What people become involved in becomes their mission.

Did you hear that?

Get someone involved in something and it becomes their mission. It becomes their cause. Their rallying cry. What they wake up thinking about.

People are most engaged with what they’re involved in. 

What people become involved in becomes their mission.


So…Only Do Things That Directly Align With Your Mission and Vision.

So how do you create a great strategy that fully supports your mission and vision?

Only do the things that directly align with your mission and vision. 

If you only offer a handful of things that directly fuel your mission and vision, people will become passionate about your mission and vision.  

So at Connexus, we only do a few things.

  • A weekend service that your unchurched friends will want to come back to.
  • Great family ministry environments for birth-college built around small group and large group time.
  • Starting Point—and environment for adults to begin exploring their role in God’s story.
  • Community Groups—strategic mid-week gatherings of 8-12 adults who gather for accountability, belonging and care (okay…and cake).
  • Partner with two or three local and global partners around issues of compassion and justice (foodbanks, missions etc).

When people ask what else we do…we tell them that’s it.

When they ask how they can be involved we tell them serve, give, invite a friend and be part a community group.

That’s it. That’s our strategy.


And Guess What?

That doesn’t have to be your strategy, but here’s the transferrable principle:

When you have a simple strategy that supports your mission and vision, people get passionate about your mission and vision.

They have no choice but to be. Because it’s all you do, and when they get involved, they become engaged.

It’s easy to understand, but it does take guts to implement.

Read more from Carey here.

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Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is lead pastor of Connexus Community Church and author of the best selling books, Leading Change Without Losing It and Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. Carey speaks to North American and global church leaders about change, leadership, and parenting.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
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