Setting a Course for Mission

Where are we going? Being a leader in mission is not simply a matter of answering that question. It is more importantly a matter of guiding the process by which the team discerns the answer together.

If the leader gets that right, the chances are much higher of:

  • Making and impact rather than just drifting along
  • Staying on course rather than suffering ‘mission creep’
  • Getting ‘buy-in’ from team members and harnessing the synergy that comes from alignment

Consider these seven qualities of an effective missional planning process:

  1. Prayerful

Take your time in God’s presence in worship, listening, interceding. Set the course in line with your best understanding of where God is taking things. ‘I do what I see the Father doing’, says Jesus.

  1. Contextual

Start from where you actually are. Not where someone else is, or where you wish you were. What is the current situation? Do your homework.

  1. Long-sighted

Keep an eye on the impact the course you set will have after you are no longer personally involved. What legacy will you leave for others to build on?

  1. Synergistic

Think carefully about the system of which you are a part. What are the organisational ‘givens’ that deserve respect? Resist operating as a ‘Lone Ranger’. If the way you operate damages someone else’s mission, you’re out of order.

  1. Consultative

Tap into the wisdom and discernment of those on your team. This isn’t necessarily democracy – having a say is not the same thing as having a vote. Make sure you also consider wise external voices.

  1. Clear

Communication is essential to setting any course of action. Make sure you communicate the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’, the ‘how’, the ‘when’, the ‘where’ and the ‘who’. Ensure the communication has the same meaning in every setting, is accessible for each audience, and able to be reviewed. This usually means it is written down.

  1. Flexible

Every course set must be subject to deliberate and scheduled review and evaluation and adjusted accordingly. It helps to have levels of negotiability: values the least negotiable, strategies somewhat negotiable, tactics the most negotiable of all.


What would you add to this list from what you have learned so far about leading planning processes for mission?

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