The Leader is the Navigator... and other Leadership Lessons

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2 years ago

“A problem well defined is a problem half-solved”. This line resonated with me the most as I read Aubrey Malphur's Advanced Strategic Planning. Many issues organizations encounter involves clear communication or the lack of it. If at least visions and goals, threats, and setbacks, are communicated clearly to all the members of the organization, half of the problem will be solved. 

However, another half poses an equal challenge – how do we deal with the REAL issue of the organization? Here lies strategy. Being a good communicator is only half the job, the other half requires knowledge and skills.

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The book exposed the truth that many leaders, including pastors, are threatened and unwelcoming to change. Most tend to stay in their comfort zones; thus, their ministries cannot cope with the shifting worldviews. While the gospel message will remain the same through generations, the modality must adapt to the ever-changing needs of people. The gospel will always be relevant. The church must follow suit.

To adapt, we must not be afraid to employ some leadership lessons from successful organizations. We must learn leadership, people skills, strategic thinking skills, and proper planning. Failure to do such will keep us at bay from ministry success. Bible and theology matter, but people matter as well. To keep people, we need to learn how to cater to their needs. 

As the Sigmoid Curve suggests, there is a time when organizations, churches included, will face plateau and eventual decline – if leaders will not be proactive in their strategies. It is a challenge to embrace, not to run away from. 

Strategies play an important leadership role. It is the quality that makes or breaks his leadership. Sweet talk and charisma, as well as abundant resources, may do wonders in the organization but leadership strategies will bring the organization to its desired success. 


I believe that whatever mess an organization is into, it will soon get better in the hands of an able leader. The point leader, pastors included, is very vital in the success or failure of an organization. Thus, it is necessary to determine first if a leader is capable of navigating a “huge ship” before making that ship sail.

Upon reading the whole chapter about Preparing the Navigator, I saw how Malphurs emphasized how everything is anchored on the leader, for he will be the one to lead the organization in crafting and implementing a strategic plan. With the help of his strategic leadership team, the lead navigator, say the pastor, must be prepared to turn around the organization through strategic planning. 

Strategic plans are not just any plan you do at the whims of a leader. In the first place, it should be strategic – carefully thought of, written, considering all the major elements that might affect the organization once the plan is implemented, should be monitored and evaluated from time to time. Also, it is a plan – a designated course of action geared towards the future. 

I appreciate as well how Malphurs emphasized that Strategic Planning is not a recent discovery. It has been around since the Old Testament in the leadership styles of Moses, Joshua, and Gideon, among others. Thus, it is not just biblical in a sense but also tried and tested.

As leaders, it’s up to us whether we will settle on maintenance leadership. That is, once our organization reaches its peak, we will just wait for it to decline and reach a certain saturation point. “This has been the way it is”, we may say. 

But as Christian leaders, this should not be. We were given wisdom by God, and leadership examples and instructions from the Bible to follow and observe. We should be good stewards not just of the resources we were given, but of the entrustments we received from the Lord and people. Our leadership must be strategic, adaptable to changes to accommodate and proclaim the unchanging Word of God. Let us be like the men of Issachar, who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32).

It is not a question of why there a need for us to implement Strategic Planning in our organizations. There are plenty of reasons why we should implement it. The question is when are we going to implement it. We may vary on the specifics, but I believe that the heart of strategic leadership is being able to turn around and navigate our respective organizational “big ships”. 

Disclaimer: The book I am referring to in this post is Advanced Strategic Planning by Aubrey Malphurs. It can be purchased through this link (nope, this is not an affiliate link nor a sponsored post):

Hi, I am Marts! I am a writer, and aside from my stint here in, I also have my own blog - I appreciate it if you pay me a visit! I plan on growing my readership as I learn to improve my craft and journey towards my passion to write and publish books that add value to people.

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