Adoration of the Golden Calf (1633-34) by Nicolas Poussin.

Detour to mission

An unplanned ministry

A church's strategic planning process is a fragile creature. Like those Hebrews who were on a desert journey, we're not sure where we are going. We hope that we will end up not with some golden idol of a vision, but with God relentlessly guiding us along the way with a fiery pillar.

When the church I serve undertook a strategic planning process in 2005, there was more golden calf than fiery pillar. Like many such efforts, it produced an earnest, businesslike plan. We held conversations within our church community, gathered demographic data on ourselves and our neighborhood and reflected on all of this with a consultant. The vision statement that emerged included a list of 20 bullet points, objectives for the coming years, metrics for evaluation and job descriptions for the staff.


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