Launch 2: Strategy

I’m gonna do a few series kind of interacting with and starting discussions about themes in some books on church planting. This series comes out of the Launch by Nelson Searcy.

In Launch, Nelson Searcy writes about how the problem for many church plants is a lack of strategy. Most church planters have a vision, they’ve got people (well, at least one or two), they’ve got money (maybe?), but they don’t have a strategy for how their vision will become a reality.

Searcy gives a list of reasons for having a strategy: A strategy is a document of faith; A successful strategy provides structure; Developing a strategy forces you to think on paper; A strategy provides focus; A strategy forces research; A strategy saves you time; A strategy makes it easier to ask others for help; A lack of strategy will limit your church’s growth.

So how do you develop a strategy? Some of Searcy’s tips:

  • The Principle of Applied Effort: The idea here is that you have a choice: Will you experience the pain of front-end discipline or the pain of back-end regret?
  • The Principle of Relevant Application: You need to make your plan unique to your situation.
  • The Principle of Post-complexity Simplicity: Developing a strategy begins as a very complex process, but it will make your life much simpler later.
  • The Principle of Direct Communication: We need to make sure our strategy is easy for others to understand.
  • The Principle of Holy Reliance: Let the Holy Spirit guide you.

These are great points. Far too many church plants go without a strategy, and suffer for it long-term. And churches that do have a strategy have often lifted it from another church. I’m not one who thinks we need to reinvent the wheel on everything, however I do think we need to give God space to speak to us. Maybe we can borrow strategic ideas from a church, but we better be very sure that it fits our situation (our staff, the people we’re trying to reach, our culture) and that God has approved of us implementing this other church’s strategy in our context.

So what about you? Do you have a strategy? What is it? Where did you get it? How has it helped you? Or, if you don’t have one, could that be one of the things holding you back?

– featured on