Having a God-sized vision: What the Bible tells us about strategy
By Kate Nicholas
How do you feel about strategy as a Christian? There are some within the Church who see strategy as an alien and purely secular concept – a no-go zone for followers of Christ. Admittedly Jesus once told his followers, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matt. 6:34) but that’s because God is the ultimate strategist and planner.
The act of creation itself was a strategic marvel and the first chapter in His extraordinary plan for humanity: “plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11). Every interaction recorded in the Bible reveals His consummate wisdom and, in the ultimate intervention when He came to earth as Emmanuel, He chose exactly the time and place when He could have most impact – the Romans having created trade routes covering 63,000 miles from Spain to modern day Iran, enabling the flow of people and information across the known world. Capernaum, where Jesus set up his base of operations, was one of the most important of these routes – the Via Maris.
Created in the image of God, we have also been given the ability to think strategically and the Bible contains some great strategists; from David, whose strategic ability was evident from the moment that he capitalised on the weak spot of the Philistine champion Goliath, to the Apostle Paul, who focused his missionary journeys on major cities such as Ephesus, the gateway to Asia minor, in order to reach the greatest number of people with the gospel.
Occasionally God handed down strategies from on high: Joshua, for example, was given very precise instructions on how to take the city of Jericho that stood in his way to the Promised Land. God, of course, could have simply wiped the city off the earth but instead he chose to use his servant Joshua. Given the bizarre nature of the instructions (walk around the walls of Jericho once a day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day, blowing trumpets as you go), it’s to Joshua’s credit that he trusted enough to obey. Others, such as Nehemiah, were simply given a vision – in his case the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem – and left to work out a strategy to deliver on this. In all cases, however, the key to success seems to be the willingness to listen and discern God’s will.
Acknowledge God’s role
Successful strategy is all about discernment; about understanding God’s vision and the role that He wants you to play in achieving this vision. Sometimes, however, we are guilty of forgetting this and working to our own human-sized vision. The poet Robert Brown wrote, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for”; as Christians, we need to be working towards a God’s-sized vision that can provide others with a glimpse of the Kingdom. This doesn’t mean that we should be unrealistic, but what we do need to do is to have the humility to acknowledge God’s role and leave space for His grace.
It’s about recognising where God is at work and how we can come alongside. It’s also about understanding how God has specifically gifted us, as leaders, and our teams to help deliver on this vision, our unique contribution to His plan, ie our mission; while recognising our fellow travellers and how we can partner with others. Then, having discerned our strategy, it is about “committing to the Lord whatever we do” (Prov 16:1-3) and then, and only then, will our plans succeed.
Kate Nicholas is Christian preacher, author, blogger and broadcaster and strategy and communications consultant with Action Planning. Find out more about her books, TV show and online courses at https://www.katenicholas.co.uk
ABOUT KATE NICHOLAS
Kate Nicholas is a best-selling Christian author, preacher and consultant with Action Planning and, in her latest book, Soul’s Scribe, Kate looks at how to understand and share your “soul story” or faith journey. Find out more about her books, TV show and online courses at https://www.katenicholas.co.uk
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