Preparing (The Grove's Strategic Visioning™ Model)

Question marksIt is helpful for churches, like other organisations, to periodically review who they are and why they exist to ensure they are fully aligned with what God has for them.

The Preparing stage is about recognising the desire or need for change and choosing what area to start with. It’s important to recognise that the way questions are asked either creates or denies possibilities and that language can create realities. Positive, open questions that amplify what makes up the best of a church and its people lead to positive change. 

Asking the right questions

One way to start is to simply ask the question:

How is God calling us to follow Jesus, serve one another and transform our communities?’ 

You might want to reflect on the church’s mission, values, strategy and vision. One way of understanding the differences between these is that:

  • Mission = Purpose
  • Values = Priorities
  • Strategy = Pathway
  • Vision = Preferable future

Using the analogy of a car to represent a church, you could see the mission of the church as a journey, the values as the fuel that gets the church to its destination, the strategy as the GPS showing the way forward and the vision as the destination.

Other questions which might be helpful to consider as a church are:

  • What is the purpose of our church and how many in the church are aware of and engaged with it?
  • Why does our church exist?
  • Where are we in terms of our mission and ministry?
  • We recognise we want to change but where do we start?
  • How can encourage greater lay involvement in the ministry of the church?
  • How can we make our discipleship and evangelism more intentional?
  • Is the way we currently express our faith communicating with our community?
  • How do we respond to a new community or opportunity?
  • How does our leadership culture support the mission of the church?
  • How do we develop a vision statement and action plan?

Take time to frame questions to be positive and strengths-based. Rather than asking ‘Why don’t people want to come to our church services anymore?’ reframe as ‘When have we seen most people attend church services and what can we learn and apply from those occasions?’

Resources for thinking about change

  • Two Loops Theory of Change - the Two Loops Theory of organisational change is a model of change inspired by looking at the growth and decline cycle of living systems. A key dynamic at the heart of every organization transformation is how as one system culminates and starts to collapse, isolated alternatives slowly begin to arise and give way to the new. It’s critical to identify where on this cycle a church or organization is to enable it to choose what actions are best suited to that life stage. 
  • The Support Challenge Matrix - these four quadrants help determine the culture of the church from the leadership style and show how challenge and support work together in optimal discipleship.
  • Five Circles of Commitment  - from ‘Purpose Driven Campaigning’, a resource based on Rick Warren’s book, ‘Purpose Driven Church’, this looks at the different levels of commitment within churches to help recognise where most people are and help develop processes to move them closer to the core.
  • The Golden Circle  and TED Talk - leaders who truly inspire people do so by following a naturally occurring pattern called The Golden Circle. This argues that, in every area of life, more is achieved when we start by first asking a simple question: “Why?” 

If you would like to talk through how to determine your focus, contact:

► Go to stage 2 - Exploring and Learning

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