SWOT: it stands for Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses, Threats. It’s a great way to engage in strategic planning to ensure that you’ve examined the big picture before deciding whether or how to move forward on a project.
But in the church, I’m afraid I’m afraid we don’t always follow this sound strategy. You see, people who bring out the Ss and Os – the Strengths and Opportunities – are looked at as faith-filled, visionary leaders.
And those of us who bring out the Ws and Ts – those annoying Weaknesses and Threats? Well, all too often, we’re looked at as faith-lacking nay-sayers standing in the way of the progress of the Kingdom of God.
Now, do we serve a God who is sovereign over all creation? Does Jesus still work miracles? Is not God also named Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides?
Yes, absolutely to all three. But we also live in a fallen world, we are in a serious battle against the enemy, and God gave us the gift of reason … and he expects us to use it.
Therefore, I think it is not just important but essential to perform SWOT analyses whenever we are exploring new ventures within the church. We need to be aware not only of the potential we have to do good, but the possibilities that may bring our efforts tumbling down around our ears.
Don’t look down on us WTs. We don’t lack faith, and we’re not trying to be negative. God has simply given us a very practical view of life that allows us to pinpoint trouble before it arises. We help the church take a hard look at things like:
- Where will the money come from for this project?
- Do we have the personnel to make it happen, or will we be putting one more job on already over-burdened people? Or, worse, get half-hearted involvement?
- Will we get the prayer support we need on a consistent and long-term basis?
- Do we have parties in the church that will stand in the way? Do they have valid concerns?
- Is there any area of sin that we are not addressing that could hinder our progress?
Then comes the decision itself: actually weighing whether or not to move forward, and, if the decision is made to move forward – how to do so effectively.
Because here’s the truth, folk: not every idea should become a reality, even if the end goal is good. Why? Because the goal will never be reached if the idea on how to get there isn’t sound. Some ideas aren’t well thought out. Some ideas don’t have the support they need at the present time. Some ideas need a little or a lot of modification before they can be actualized. A prayer-filled SWOT analysis can help determine which path God is calling you on.
Remember, we’re supposed to act as a body within the church. Typically, SO-type people provide the “go juice” – the momentum. WT-type people put the brakes on so that the “go” is controlled.
Working together, we can really make things work!
© 2009 Paula Marolewski, www.SinkYourRoots.com