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February 16, 2017

Strategizing to Win

By Daniel Im

Our Q&A Webinars are a monthly segment designed for Plus Members to hear from leading experts in church planting, multisite, leadership, and multiplication. For this month’s segment, Ed and I talk with Eric Geiger, Vice President of LifeWay Christian Resources, and author of several books including, Designed to Lead and Simple Church.

Strategizing to Win

I’m not a big board game guy. Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t say I don’t like to play. In fact, I love playing board games—like Settlers of Catan—with friends. The problem is, I don’t like to lose! And because I don’t play nearly enough, when I do play such strategy-intense board games with strategic players, I typically lose.

Maybe you are better at strategy games like Settlers of Catan, Risk, Chess, Dominion, or Monopoly. If so, that’s great! Kuddos to you! I probably won’t be playing you any time soon (unless my wife is on my team because then, we’ll definitely win). But let me ask you a question: How’s your strategy at multiplication and disciple-making? Do you have a strategy? Do you have a winning strategy?

When it comes to churches winning at multiplication and disciple-making, churches that have strategies typically do better than those that don’t. Some may push back from all the “strategy” talk and say, “I just trust God,” or “faithfulness leads to fruitfulness.” I understand these responses, as these things are true as well.

But, when it comes to strategy, is our God not strategic? Was the unfolding of and filling of creation not strategic? Was the Promised Land not a strategic piece of land? Did God not break into history during a strategic time where Rome occupied most of the known world? Did it not seem that Jesus was strategic in selecting the twelve, going through Samaria (John 4), waiting four days to visit the tomb of a deceased friend (John 11), or coming to earth to live a perfect life so that He could die for the sins of the world? And does it not seem that Paul had, at the very least, a simplistic strategy in selecting metropolitan areas to share the gospel and plant churches?

It seems to me, that God moves and acts in strategic ways to accomplish His plans. If this is true, which I believe it is, should we not, as His people (His church), move and act in strategic ways to participate (and be effective) in His mission of making disciples?

Recently Ed and I chatted with Eric Geiger, the Yoda of leadership and church strategies. During our time, Eric shared at least three major areas churches (and church plants) may want to consider having strategies that will help them win at multiplication and disciple-making.

Creating a Culture of Participants rather than Spectators.

No matter how creative and strategic a church may be in creating a culture of participants, given the consumeristic climate of our culture, cultivating such a culture will always feel like an uphill battle. According to Eric, it takes time to move people from a cruise-ship mentality, where people are pampered, to a battleship mentality, where all hands are on deck.

Working towards such a culture, requires consistency from churches. The more churches attempt to change strategies—and even implement various kinds of gimmicks—to get more people involved, the more it may have an adverse effect. Eric explains that leaders who often change strategies will find their followers waiting to see what change will happen next.

Thus, to cultivate a culture of participation, leaders should create a mobilization process where they consistently model service personally, message service publicly (via videos, announcements, publications, and sticky comments), and celebrate service corporately by sharing stories of people who give of their time, talents, and treasures in ordinary ways.

To read the final two areas churches need to consider having strategies that help churches win at multiplication and disciple-making, and to watch the full video, click here.

This video is part of Plus Membership. To get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.


  • Church leader: How’s your strategies for winning at multiplication and disciple-making?
  • When it comes to churches winning at disciple-making, churches that have strategies typically do better than those that don’t.
  • God, throughout the biblical narrative, moves and acts in strategic ways to accomplish His plans.
  • Creating a culture of participants—given the consumeristic climate of our culture—will always feel like an uphill battle.
  • Any ministry that wants to grow and multiply disciples must be able to grow and multiply its leaders.
  • It’s impossible to win at multiplication and disciple-making if churches don’t reach out to their community and city!
  • Effective outreach starts with a missional strategy.


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.


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