Monday, April 30, 2012

Driven By... (Goal Driven Strategy v. Vision Driven Strategy))

Before I start, just know this will be a departure from my normal writing style.  It seems more "textbook" as my lovely wife described it.  Just know, this isn't something God is working in my heart, just something I observed and wanted to share.

What drives you?  What is that specific thing that motivates you to achieve?  This is such a wide avenue to "drive", so let me focus it a little.  Last week I had the opportunity to talk with a friend who leads an amazing ministry.  He's a great leader and loves his flock.  I can see the glorious weight of that love for them every time we meet.  One of the topics we talked about is what drives the strategies we use to minister to the group we're called to.  What we came up with is two possibilities.  Either our strategy to reach people is motivated by specific goals, we'll call this Goal Driven Strategy (GDS) or we're motivated by a God given vision, we'll call this Vision Driven Strategy (VDS).

Obviously, goals are not a bad thing.  We all have goals.  Goals give us a point of focus to work toward and the ability to measure mission accomplishment.  Goals are important to accomplishing any mission.  But, when we start directing the strategy of our ministry (keeping in mind "ministry" is the way we serve and love others with the intent of introducing them to Jesus) in hopes of simply achieving specific goals, it becomes easy to lose sight of why we do what we do.  If our focus is goal accomplishment we can easily become content with the success of achieving those goals.  Our ambition and strategy to serve others will simply be task oriented and have little or no lasting impact.  Ultimately we can become so geared toward seeing goals accomplished, we trade it for seeing mission accomplished.

On the other hand, VDS stays focused on the vision that God gave in the beginning to see your mission accomplished.  That vision becomes the driving force behind the strategies we choose to use to serve others.  Of course, VDS includes goals, but isn't focused on them as the end.  In this, goals are simply stepping stones to seeing the vision fulfilled.  If  focused  on vision achievement, strategy has to look wholly different.  It allows for more flexibility in your strategy.  If you begin to work toward a goal you set and realize it is not helping to achieve the over all vision, it becomes easier to stop and refocus on what the ultimate vision is and redirect efforts to something that achieves that vision.  And, since seeing God's vision achieved is what everyone is focused on and desires, there are no hurt feelings when the idea is scrapped.  My mentor, Pastor Jeff Maness says, "Just because it's a good idea, doesn't make it a God idea."  Too right.  When teams realize what does and doesn't contribute to mission accomplishment and vision achievement, letting things go becomes easier. 

Our ultimate desire should be obedience to God.  We should desire to see the mission and vision of God accomplished.  When goals become our ultimate focus they become the strategy and mission and vision can suffer.  But when we're focused on vision and mission achievement, goals are simply part of our strategy.

Driven by vision,