No Strategy IS a Strategy

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No Strategy IS a Strategy

Recently, I’ve come across several examples of teams with no strategy — not using their heads and jumping straight to fussing about tactics without thinking about what the purpose really is.  Who they’re trying to reach.  And what they want the outcome to be ideally.  What they all were missing is strategy.  

Today I’ve asked Barbara Carneiro to chime in about this critical topic.  Without it you’re lost.  Without it is a strategy she says.  Let’s listen to what Barbara has to say to us as church communicators. . .

As a church communicator I am always looking for that next tool or tactic. I have my eye on trends in technology and communication.

Maybe I am a geek, or maybe it’s because applying a tool (or simply downloading one), is easier than thinking bigger… thinking about strategy.

Applying a tool or downloading one is easier than thinking bigger… or about strategy ~Barbara Carneiro Share on X

What would you do if you saw this online, would you click?

It’s our most extensive collection of the essential tools. 177 total pieces make this truly the Ultimate Set.

Don’t worry, the link is correct.

That was not for Church Communication but for cake decorating.

I remember the day I found out about this cake decorating course in town. I signed up immediately and I was so excited to go through the list of things to bring. Before my first class, I decided to buy the best set I found at the store.

You guessed it. I got the Ultimate Set, and I was convinced that with the right tools I could become the best cake decorator in town. Or if I used the tools professionals use I would get the same results.

I have a photo to prove I made it to the first lesson. Woohoo!


This was sadly the only photo I took because, well, this was the only lesson I attended. The day they told me I had to bring a cake to lesson two, I never went back.

“A cake? I don’t know how to bake a cake!” – I exclaimed…

But wait, now I’m stuck with the Ultimate Set and no results to show to anyone.

The same is true for church communicators if all you are doing is collecting tools, tutorials, templates and tips without the backbone of strategy.

How to get started with strategy

Strategy is the blueprint, the big picture.

Strategy is what sustains everything you are doing. I failed to see the big picture and therefore ended up with a debt I didn’t need. And with a cake decorating set I haven’t used since.

Take a step back. Put yourself at the top of the hill and observe. Take notes. Brainstorm. Analyze the territory.

You may be thinking strategy is only for the big guys. You know, the churches that are established and have a building, fifty people on staff, three hundred volunteers and a budget for everything.

If you don’t have a strategy that IS your strategy. Not making a decision IS a decision. Share on X

So, where to start?

With the people. Know your neighbors. Understand and know where God has put your church and who you are better prepared to serve. Study them, ask questions, observe.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. What is the number 1 question we get asked all the time?
  2. What do our neighbors need to know about us?
  3. What is something our neighbors are not expecting from us, that if they knew it would rock their world (in a good way!)?
  4. What should my neighbors be asking us that they aren’t asking yet?
  5. What language would my neighbors use to identify their current problem?
  6. What is their greatest hesitation in trying out our church?
  7. What is the best way to engage with my neighbors?
  8. Where do the people in my neighborhood hangout? What do they enjoy?

I still have the Ultimate Set for cake decorating (don’t tell my husband). At the end of the day, getting all the tools I could find only got me a credit card debt to pay and no results.

I was missing the big picture. Make sure you’re not missing it too.


barbara-carneiro-150Barbara Carneiro is the owner of Word Revolution, a communication agency for Christian ministries and the brain behind 4:12 Lab, a training program for Church Communication. She is a disciple, Christ follower, forever curious strategist, storyteller and geek. You will make her happy with a white chocolate mocha.



What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Kenny Jahng is a content marketing advisor and communications strategist who helps nonprofit, cause-driven and faith-based organizations / churches. You can connect with Kenny on Twitter @kennyjahng

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