The duration of your commitment to a particular strategic focus will depend largely on the nature of your goal/s and your relationship. Typically a project focus, for infrastructure or technology or production of something, has a clearer, shorter term commitment. e.g. – A focus to establish an indigenous Bible school might have a well-established timeline for hiring faculty and staff, erecting buildings, classrooms, dorms, etc., establishing library or textbook curricula resources, and so on. While establishing reproducing churches amongst a traditionally resistant and remote culture requires more flexibility and patience. So, first of all, the duration may be determined by the type of goal or goals of your focus.
Secondly, the duration is determined by you and your church leaders. What is YOUR purpose in adopting this particular strategic focus? We know of a church that adopted a ten-year plan to have a strategic focus on each of three major unreached segments of the world for approximately three years each (to fulfill the ten year cycle). Their overarching purpose was to participate in those segments of the Great Commission (but not exhaustively) and to familiarize their congregation with those needs, giving them opportunity for personal involvement. They choose to find ministries they could pour themselves into for a briefer three-year period each for: Chinese, Hindu, and Muslim populations. Their goals for their own congregational exposure, opportunity, and involvement superseded specific long-term goals on the field. Many churches adopt an unreached people group, to do all that they can within just a five year period. After that time, the church is free to choose to continue, to pick another arbitrary time limit, or to move on to something else.
Lastly, the duration may be a function of your church’s direct involvement. As long as you have your people or your specific interests directly involved in the focus, the church supports it. When and if your people or interests move somewhere else, then the church’s focus moves with them.
Remember that in this world time and added information can change quickly. Your decision for a strategic focus today may seem perfect; a year from now, with added information and experience, it may not see as wise and wonderful. That’s OK! A dear friend refers to an old cliche: “When the horse dies, dismount.” Or, following the title of a once-popular book on Christian leadership: “Sacred cows make gourmet burgers.” You don’t have to feel defeated if you need to make a change due to circumstances beyond your control. God is still sovereign! He has had his plans for your maturity and growth in holiness through every circumstance. He is able to make the disappointments and seeming defeats in gracious stepping stones, building blocks, milestones of progress for you and your church’s spiritual growth and the ultimate progress of the Gospel. Pray! Continue to trust God; and get back into the next strategic focus for your church, to the glory of God.