Is there a balance between strategy and spirit? In cross cultural work we often give priority and precedence to what is ‘tried and true’. But what does strategy look like in the Bible? To me it seems that the strategies of God are often quite ‘un-strategic’. Think about Gideon losing the majority of his army before a battle. That’s not something that would be suggested by military tacticians!
Many times, we are exposed to strategies and taught models with the belief that if we adopt them and use them exactly as specified in our situation, we will see much fruit. But we are called to adopt principles and adapt models. We need divine discernment to know how a biblical principle should be applied in our context.
Listening to Gods voice is a foundational principle of our organization. If we use strategy divorced from the Lords guidance, without getting His specific direction for a situation, I don’t believe we will see good enduring fruit.
Sometimes following the voice of The Lord will lead us to do things that seem illogical, as with the case of Gideon when the Lord DECREASED his army! There was a strategy, but it came from God and wasn’t initially obvious or logical to human minds. Nevertheless it was God’s perfect plan for that specific time and situation.
I fear that an overemphasis on the strategic has caused us to drift away from the God-given wisdom within our hearts and a reliance on The Holy Spirit. If we are given a ‘proven’ strategy, then we need only adopt a model. It doesn’t require us to wrestle with it at a deep level spiritually. It doesn’t require us to rely on God or seek the guidance of The Holy Spirit.
There have been many people group movements around the world in recent years. Truly we are seeing something incredible in our time. Those whom God uses to birth these mighty moves are unique and powerfully anointed men and women. I honestly believe that most of those who were used to bring about people group movements among the unreached were empowered for this and received wisdom, strategy, and breakthrough, while being constantly on their knees before the throne of God. However, the rather sad and interesting reality is that after birthing a movement, many of these men and women of God go on write and market a book about it. And what does that book often teach? “Just adopt this strategy and this method and you will see such and such a result!” What began as deep and utter reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit and wisdom from God is now being presented as a model and a formula that must be adopted and fully bought into.
For several years in our work we pressed in for fruit with the thinking that contextualization was “THE” key that would bring growth and a corresponding release in the Hindu world. In reality it is “A” key that must also be paired with another key, which is listening to and obeying the voice of The Holy Spirit, being careful to follow HIS direction in our ministry.
We don’t want to look to a specific strategy and expect it to be the end-all solution to bring fruit. We need to look to Jesus and ask Him how to apply and adapt strategies to our specific location and situation. Please don’t misinterpret me; I’m not anti- strategy. I am strongly for wise and fruitful strategies. But every strategy needs to be applied under the anointing and direction of Jesus.
Therefore the question we need to be asking is “What was Jesus’ strategy?” Answer: “He did only what He saw The Father doing.” In closing, if we find ourselves walking around a walled city with a bunch of Israelites blowing trumpets, we need to make sure that GOD actually spoke into this situation, and that we’re not just doing this because somebody somewhere said it worked great for them!