Ministry Starting, Movement Building
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Strategy Over Worry: Great Advice from an Entrepreneur

“But it is equally critical to have a strategy that makes sense in the context of what is going on and execute it with purpose and pace. If you spend too much time looking over your shoulder, you will not execute well.”–Fred Wilson

I feel like I could spend the next ten years on “a strategy that makes sense in the context of what’s going on” and be extremely effective in ministry. What a great quote!

When moving my ministry from X to Y so often what other ministry’s/people factor too heavily in the execution process. Also the strategy and vision that was so fresh a month or two ago suddenly gets pushed aside in order to make sure my ministry is not “behind” on something someone else is doing. LAME!

One more great quote from Wilson:

“Plan, build, ship, and scale. Assess. Repeat again and again. Win.”

So often what gets lost when we focus on keeping up with others is ASSESS! It’s hard enough to take the time to effectively evaluate what’s working and what’s not, what can be improved for next time, etc.

Let me throw this out there: Don’t be an ass. Assess your ministry!

No one is thinking and as accountable for the future of your ministry as you are. Strategic assessment and correction is THE GAME for the long-term health of your ministry.


  1. Brian, you’ve focused on the “assess” phrase. I agree we’re very weak in assessment. Another phrase in the powerful Wilson quote: “execute it with purpose and pace”. I think that we as a movement are pretty strong in developing strategies (but they don’t always make “sense in context”), but one place I think we fail is in executing the strategy with PURPOSE and with PACE. I benefitted greatly earlier in my staff career working under someone whose philosophy was in the area of PACE, it was “let’s get this strategy implemented very quickly so that if it fails, and 90% do, we fail quickly. Then we can learn from our failures and come back and do it better the next time.” He actually celebrated our ministry failures by giving out the Top 5 Failures This Year awards to people who had tried and failed.

    • love that execution strategy keith! the whole lean startup movement is getting traction right now–he was way ahead of the times!

      gary runn, who is overseas right now in italy i believe, did a training on the strategic plan that was excellent.

      i remember he said “roles, goals, tools, and time” for every strategy–that stuck with me the last 5 years–it was easy to get strategy on paper, but this part made us work hard. but i would say doing our part in this area was the reason our movement grew so intentionally.

      thanks for the comment!

  2. The sequence of ‚ÄúPlan, build, ship, and scale. Assess.” is interesting.

    Because I like big things, I think I can get bogged down (and bring others down too) with wanting to make sure something scales.

    I think it’s interesting that ship comes before scale. It’s a good reminder to not get stuck in a, “we’ve got to make this scale rut” that prevents shipping.

    If we’ve going to change the world, we need ideas that scale. However, I’m learning the importance of just getting something out there, before answering all the scale questions.

    • good thoughts here.

      with the blogference the community was built first–the first year was 5 different blogs and a facebook group. started w a big idea and no community, and are struggling for users. it’s not as simple as that, but there is something to be said for having a thriving community first.

      i like the ship before scale because it gives you a chance to iterate before the scale. have definitely seen the “we’ve got to make this scale rut” happen to me as well.

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