I just spotted this on Neil Cole’s (author of Organic Church) facebook status and thought I’d weigh in on this idea.
“The best strategic plan is to plan to act strategically when the need arises. Adapt to what comes, don’t hold to a plan formed in absentia.”
Although a Pharisee in Jesus’ day would have been an obvious example of one who swiftly walks past the evident needs of their community in pursuit of upholding their plans and traditions, I think many leaders in the church, including myself, fail to adjust their strategies in order to stay faithful to the plan. Too much was invested into the program, too many people heard the announcement, how is the board going to react to these changes. The burden of adaptation is heavy, however, static plans can be destructive when the weight of its strategies prevents mobility and flexibility. A.R. Bernard once stated that “change is the essence of maturation.” Paul writes that “the man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.” (1 Cor. 8:2). The vulnerable position of a teachable student is the sign of a smart and relevant leader. It’s funny how we can create strategies that fail to factor in unseen variables. We assume the world functions in a vacuum where good ideas yesterday will surely avail today. Neil raises a great solution to this problem and points us in a direction that requires quick thinking and a trust that God will supply the ideas, resources and plan once the needs arise. It’s definitely an uncomfortable method in leading a church, however, I think we’ll be giving God a whole lot more glory as a result of it.
How does Neil’s quote challenge the way you strategize? Weigh in your thoughts.