Its become very trendy of late to describe your ministry as a ‘strategic’ ministry. So for example we see a developing trend where people are taking note of rapid urbanization and so opting to plant and work in churches that are located within the major urban centers of the world today – why? Well because its strategic. We also see it in student ministry. The argument goes along these lines: Students are going to graduate and go on to be the movers and shakers in our society and exert much influence in the future, therefore its strategic to evangelize them during their student years. It seems that its cutting edge today to be involved in a ‘strategic’ ministry.
And my guess is that you could make a strong argument from the scriptures that both Jesus and the apostles were very strategic in the way they went about their ministry – just take a look at Paul’s travels through the book of Acts – they have strategy written all over them.
What’s my point? Well, more of a question actually and that is: How do you reconcile strategy with the simple fact that when strategy is being employed neglect is taking place at the same time. If you are intentionally focusing your efforts at a particular group at the same time another group is being neglected. It seems like a bit of a moral and ethical dilemma. So take a church for example, they’re not far from a big university and so the pastor approaches his executive and they decide to budget for student pastor to work with students. Now that money could have gone to employing a youth pastor, a children’s worker, a full-time counsellor even a pastor to work with the elderly. How do you choose? If we say that we need to be strategic then we’re never going to have people working with the elderly because you could make plenty of arguments that students are more strategic, youth are more strategic even children are more strategic and when you make that decision someone along the line gets neglected.
I’m bugged by this dilemma because I want to somehow uphold the importance of doing ‘strategic’ ministry (at a casual glance it does seem biblical) but at the same time I never want to be seen as neglecting a particular group – almost like ministry favoritism – it just seems wrong somehow.