I wonder whether we should just ban the word 'strategic' in church. It pops up all over the place. We have strategic ministries, there are strategic people groups, there is a strategic decision waiting for us. For me, this is all a massive turn off. I like my business speak to be confined to business, which church isn't.
But more than that, I think it is anti-gospel.
Strategic thinking works in actions and consequences. It follows logical connections. If we do this, we will be able to reach many more people. This group is well connected, so if we make some gospel inroads here we will see the gospel spread more broadly. This guy is gifted, so investment in him is likely to have a knock-on effect on society more broadly.
Is this not viewing people and situations according to the flesh?
When you consider that the sequel to the cross was the resurrection - and that the necessary precursor to the resurrection was the cross - what room is left for this sort of thinking? The cross does not lead logically to the resurrection; the resurrection does not flow naturally from the cross. God is in the business of turning dead ends into glorious triumphs, and plucking victories out of apparent blind alleys.
In a world where the gospel is true, and in a sphere in which the gospel is our model for thinking and action, we have to admit that we don't know what the connections are. God doesn't move in straight lines, and so neither can we. We don't know what he will do. The only thing we can say for sure is that his modus operandi seems to involve, as an integral part, throwing things away, spending effort on apparently worthless things, sacrifices which don't seem to have pay-offs.
No more strategy, please. Just preaching, loving, living.