Did you see the S-word in my post title? Did the word “strategy” make your stomach churn? For some reason, many people, especially Christian women, believe “Biblical”, “strategy” and “blog” cannot co-exist in the same sentence.
I’m not sure why this attitude exists. Maybe because we think “strategy” equals “manipulation”. Or perhaps “self-promotion.”
The dictionary definition is
So what is your specific goal for your ministry or blog? Is it to spread the gospel message of peace and hope? To encourage others in their relationship with Christ? To help them be more effective in reaching their own goals and dreams?
You might not think of those as “goals” or “results”. They sound more like the dream God planted in your heart when you answered the call to jump into the world of online ministry. If it’s your dream, is it not worth a specific plan and method to reach it?
I can’t imagine that God would entrust us with a big assignment and then expect us to just fumble around, trying this and that until something sticks. Or until nothing sticks and we give up.
No, He wouldn’t do that to us, and He didn’t do it to the heroes of faith who literally accomplished dreams of Biblical proportions. Here are four Biblical strategies we can use today in our online ministries and businesses.
Provide solutions for personal needs
In Genesis 6, God tells Noah
I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them … So make yourself an ark … Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you … Noah did everything just as God commanded him. (NIV)
God did not make any promises to Noah about replenishing the earth or creating a new civilization. He knew Noah as a man and father and met the need He knew would be first on Noah’s mind. God provided a way to save Noah’s family. Everything else … the animals, the birds, the food … came behind caring for Noah’s family.
And Noah’s response? He did everything just as God commanded him.
Yea, I’m pretty sure if God told me He was destroying the earth and gave me a way to save my family, I would do everything He commanded, too!
To meet personal needs in our ministry, we need to know our audience as people, not just as readers. When we know their struggles, we can write what they need to hear, not what we need to say.
Start small, then take steps to grow
Jesus left his disciples with a big mission … Go and make disciples. But then in the first chapter of Acts, He gave them specific steps to accomplish the mission.
Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised … you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. (NIV)
Stay where you are until I give you what you need.
You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (NIV)
Jerusalem = where you are now
Judea = your neighbors like you
Samaria = your neighbors not like you
The Ends of the Earth = everybody else
Does that sound like a plan we can follow now? Get equipped, but don’t stay where we are comfortable. Move out into the messy places and reach people not like us. Take advantage of opportunities that make our eyes pop.
Engage people who can fill your gaps
Moses quite famously argued with God about his inability to speak eloquently, so God gave him a partner in Aaron to speak for him. But Aaron was not the only one to help fill the gaps for Moses. He had a mentor in his father-in-law, Jethro. An apprentice in Joshua. And an unsung hero in Hur, the behind-the-scenes guy who was always there in a pinch.
So who are the people we need to fill our gaps? That starts with understanding our gaps, being real with ourselves about what we can and can’t do. If we neglect to involve others in our ministry, trying to handle everything ourselves, we will only grow to our own capacity to handle it. If Moses had tried to do it all himself, those Israelites might STILL be wandering around in the wilderness!
Put People before Projects
Oh this one is hardest for me! In fact, I failed at it just today. But Nehemiah was keenly aware of the needs of the people he was leading. As they were rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, the people felt exposed and were threatened by their enemies while they were working. Nehemiah had a solution:
From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah who were building the wall. Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. (NIV)
Imagine that. Only half the people were actually working on the wall. And the ones who were working were carrying their weapons with them, some only working with one hand. The productivity had to be horrible … it’s enough to make a project manager cry!
Nehemiah knew what I so often forget. Taking care of people is more important than getting things done. When we put people over projects, the people notice. They are much more likely to follow a kind, compassionate leader than one who only cares about getting to the finish line. It’s not that I don’t care about people. It’s more like I get so consumed with the steps of the project that I fail to notice people who are hurting, frightened or just needing a loving touch. I’m working on it. I hope you are, too.
These examples show that being strategic does not need to be manipulative. Strategy is about understanding how we act impacts the way people respond. It’s not self-promotional. Biblical strategy is focused on serving others first, so we have can influence people towards Christ.