Guest Contributor: Christa Hutchins
What do you think of when you hear the word?
Some of you Type A people (like me) get all excited, ready to connect the dots, make charts on the wall and put a plan into action.
For others, even (and sometimes especially) Christian women leaders, “strategy” is a dirty word. It brings to mind the squirminess of manipulation and the awkwardness of self-promotion. Not the hallmarks of a strong leader.
That’s unfortunate, because a Biblically strategic focus allows us to be more effective leaders and make the best use of our resources. But how do we know the difference between being strategic and being manipulative? We can follow the example of Nehemiah.
Manipulation is focused on immediate results but Biblical strategy puts first things first.
Nehemiah is perhaps best known for rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. But that is only half of Nehemiah’s story. Rebuilding the wall was the first step in rebuilding a nation that had been devastated by years of slavery and exile – a nation that did not know what it meant to live free.
The apostle Paul gives us some good direction on putting first things first.
The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 1 Corinthians 15:46 (NIV)
Nehemiah’s work to be done on the wall was natural. The work to be done in the hearts of the people was supernatural.
Creating a strategic plan is our “natural” work. It determines the vision, the structure, the resources and responsibilities. When we take care of the natural, we make way for God to do the supernatural through us. We can’t expect God to do the supernatural when our natural wall is broken down and in disrepair.
Manipulation plays off emotions but Biblical strategy meets emotional needs.
Did God need a wall to protect his people? Absolutely not. There are many places in the Bible where God’s people were exposed, embattled and defenseless and He miraculously showed up to save them.
No, God had no need for that wall. But the people needed it. They needed to know they were safe and protected before they could begin to function as God’s people again.
The wall represented structure, security, and protection. It created boundaries for their safety. By building the wall first, Nehemiah removed a major obstacle in their recovery as a nation.
When we create a structured plan, we do the same thing for ourselves and our team. We provide a safe environment to grow, think and create. Biblical strategy doesn’t put people in boxes based on what we think they should accomplish. It gives them a solid foundation to create their own path and do things we could never imagine.