By Dr. Scott Rodin, Chief Strategy Officer & Senior Consultant
“If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there.”
(Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland)
I admit, I am not a cat lover. But there is much wisdom in the Cheshire Cat’s response to Alice’s inquiry about which road she should choose to travel. We would do well to heed the words of this Machiavellian feline in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
We see non-profit leaders make this mistake all too often: trying earnestly to choose the right road without having first named the destination. Here is a quick three-question test to see if the same might be true for you.
- If someone asked you to describe your organization as you plan for it to be three years from today, would you have a clear, concise, and compelling answer?
- Is there a narrative of your desired future that is galvanizing and inspiring your entire community?
- Are you following an agile, dynamic plan to get you there?
If you could not answer ‘yes’ to these three questions, then your organization may be experiencing the painful reality of the cat’s comment. All the budgeting, programming, managing, fundraising, and daily work may be taking it down a road without a destination. And the right destination matters to God!
As staff leaders and board members, we have been entrusted with the ministry we serve. It does not belong to us; it is the Lord’s. We are given the privilege and responsibility to steward this part of God’s kingdom according to God’s leading for God’s glory. God did not call us into leadership of His ministry to wander without a vision.
If we are to be faithful stewards of God’s ministry, we must create a God-honoring plan developed through a Spirit-led process that results in a kingdom-sized vision.
To do less is to abdicate our responsibility as stewards of a sacred trust.
We have created the DISCERN process to help Christ-centered organizations develop strategic plans that articulate God’s vision for the future of their ministry. The process is unique in its ability to produce plans that fit five critical criteria:
- Agility – plans that remain current and relevant and drive the daily decisions of the ministry
- Simplicity – plans that are clear, easy to understand, and invite participation
- Unity – plans that unite a community in pursuit of a common vision
- Commitment – plans that involve stakeholders and garner buy-in and support across the community
- Realistic – plans that can be implemented and take into consideration the capacity of the ministry
We live in tumultuous times. The landscape is shifting almost daily. Things that used to be certain and reliable are eroding underneath us. In this perilous environment, we must prove faithful in stewarding God’s work in God’s way for God’s glory. That requires a strategic plan that reflects God’s will and purpose for our ministry.
It is our privilege to guide ministries through the DISCERN process and help them create these agile, dynamic plans. Ministries that have completed DISCERN are being drawn to a vibrant narrative of the future into which God is calling them. Most importantly, they are faithfully stewarding the work God has entrusted to them, advancing His kingdom, and bringing Him the glory.
God has a plan for the future of the ministry you steward for Him. He knows where it should go, and He stands ready to provide the resources it needs to get there.
God has a plan for His ministry. The question is, do you?
Summary: We have been entrusted with the ministry we serve. It does not belong to us. It is the Lord’s. If we try to choose the right road without having first named the destination, we will never fulfill God’s vision. If we are to be faithful stewards of God’s ministry, we must create a God-honoring plan developed through a Spirit-led process that results in a kingdom-sized vision. God has a plan for His ministry; the question is, do you?