There are a number of ways that God might lead you and your church in this process. All are providentially under the control of our sovereign God. So, you can proceed with confidence and even risk-taking courage, as you seek to glorify Jesus Christ. That’s His will; that’s what He wants us to do; that’s what He will empower and enable! Because this is true, you want to saturate the whole process with prayer, before, during, and after the research and decisions are made. Get your congregation praying with you and your church leaders for His guidance and direction as you study, inquire, and survey for that best matching strategic missions focus/vision.
Your strategic focus might come into your awareness through communication with your missionaries, analyzing the cross-cultural bridges and connections of your congregation or your metro area. Your focus may arise from an overwhelmingly positive response to a presentation of some critical need or strategic unreached people group. You might learn of a special opportunity in a conference or periodical that you follow up with more questions and research.
There are many elements to building a strong rationale for making a particular choice about your church’s strategic focus. Take heart comfort in the fact that, if your motives and goals are genuinely in tune with God’s purposes, you cannot make a mistake. God will direct you. That doesn’t mean that the resulting decision and implementation won’t be difficult. On the contrary, if you are following in the footsteps of Jesus, you will encounter tribulation and persecution and difficult circumstances along the way. Still, Jesus is worth it! The lessons your congregation will learn, the spiritual maturity and heavenly perspective gained, are also worth it.
Here are two charts which, in brief, give an overview of the elements you might consider. Check out the resources, below and in this “Focus” chapter of the “Church Mobilization” path/book, for further study.