Contemporary Strategic Management Plan

Strategic Management Plan in First Century

Jesus' design aligns with His plan for growth. The design allowed the Jews and Gentiles who were culturally relationally dyadic to continue group and family orientation (Pilch and Malina 51). The evidence of Jesus' Spirit changing lives within the family was the greatest reason for the growth in the early church (Malina, World 203). Jesus' birthed His strategic management design at the festival of Pentecost during which He poured out His Spirit on people. Willimon states one of the significant changes evident in disciples was the new boldness for Christ; a new Spirit empowerment (Acts 2). We read about this in Luke's summary of Peter's speech in Acts 2, observing the empowerment in the change in Peter from coward to bold speaker. We see the empowerment in the more than three thousand new disciples converted and sent home as new disciple makers (30-31). It was at Pentecost, Jesus fully fulfilled His promise when He said, "lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). Jesus' constant presence within the family provided the leadership and empowerment for the Spirit's presence and its subsequent fruit (Galatians 5).

Implications and Promise for Contemporary Organizations

Drawing on the interpretation of Matthew 28:16-20 in light of an understanding and analysis of the culture of the time, we can infer implications for contemporary Christian organizations. The implications fall into the categories of organizational structure, individual priorities, the importance of spiritual commitment, and the importance of God's promise of His presence and empowerment. Taken individually and together, they have major implications.

Organizational Structure

In Matthew 28, the only organizational structure suggested is the family, the family of God. The "family of God" allows for any number of structures possible for Christian organizations. However, there are certain implications for all the different potential structures. The essential of this counter-culture Jesus identified in His day still applies today as a counter-culture; the love commitment to the family (Malina and Rohrbaugh 335-336). It appears God is much less concerned about specific organizational structure and very concerned about the Spirit-driven love based loyalty and commitment to all of God's disciples within the family of God.

Priorities

In Matthew 28, Jesus identifies His disciples' number one priority as making more disciple makers. In many ways we could infer Jesus saying the only activity for His disciples is making disciples and all other activities need to fall as a sub-activity. When we raise children, we are raising future disciples makers for God. When we have a neighborhood barbeque, we are building relationships for future disciple making. When a Regent University Strategic Leadership student is posting on a forum, the student is one of a body of students (disciple makers) in a cohort (a family of God sub-group) in the disciple making business with other students.

The disciple making priority means when we eat, we eat to provide the energy to make disciples. When we purchase a car, we purchase the car that we might make disciples. All these and more would imply at all times His disciples are influencing others toward Him, in both verbal and non-verbal communication.

Organizationally, the same implications apply. Christian organizations are simply sub-organizations of the family addressed in Matthew; the family of God. Thus, a Christian organization, be-it profit or not-for-profit, is ultimately in the disciple making business. In a for-profit organization, profit is no longer the primary goal. Profit becomes a vehicle to provide for more disciples making. The question for-profit owners need to ask is, "how is business" from God's disciple making perspective? Everything we do--individually and organizationally--centers on Jesus' command to "while we are going, make disciples."

Importance of Spiritual commitment - baptizing

Understanding the full meaning of baptism holds significant implications for individuals and organizations today. For disciple making to be a first priority seen and felt through all the subtleties of daily living, today's disciples need to step into the life of absolute abandonment to the authority of Christ in all things. We need to think of baptizing in terms of more than dipping people in water and embrace baptizing as the process of birthing people into a deep relationship with God and His family; people called disciples.

Importance of education - teaching

Jesus clearly places education as another critical component of His strategic design of disciple making in our contemporary world. We see this carried out primary in three spheres. Disciples teach through words, through experiences, and through modeling. There is potential teaching within the bounds of work. Education occurs within the world of friendships. Possibly the most influential teaching happens under the purview of father and mother. A disciple would formally and informally take opportunities to teach in any or all of these venues.

Importance of God's promise of His presence

With the advent of Pentecost and the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit on His disciples, the church changed from an organization of people to an organism, a body, a family of God with Christ's Spirit at its heart. His Spirit regenerates us and renews us (Titus 3:4-7), and His Spirit guides us and reminds us of His words (John 16: 13-14). The promise of His presence, His Spirit, provides disciples empowerment to be Christ's disciple maker, moving the disciple one step further than dyadic relations. The Spirit puts the disciple in the position of become part of triadic relations; God the patron, the person receiving discipling as the client, and the person doing the discipling as the mediator. The Spirit in us puts all human encounters as triadic. The person doing the discipling is never without the presence of God's Spirit in the center of the relations. This means all patron-client encounters are actually patron-mediator-client encounters; all triadic.

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by Allen Quist

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