Minding the Gap

Laurie Laurie
Posted on in Coaching, Marketing, Strategy, The Creel Model

What is the Creel Institute?
We’re a division of The Strategy Group LLC, a full-service strategic marketing firm established in 1990.

What is the thinking behind it?
It’s an insistence, a value that goes to our core that national-quality excellence and critical thinking should be as available to helping ministries and not-for-profit organizations as to large, multi million-dollar companies! Churches and ministries, large and small, often subscribe to the sad idea that if their identities are too vibrant, their constituencies won’t give. If they have the money to create this beautiful new brochure, they don’t need my money. The reality is that ministry must compete in a noisy, saturated marketplace to gain the attention of its publics. It is also true that organizational health increases public confidence in giving.

So the Creel Institute will focus on marketing?
Marketing puts a winsome face on an organization, and that’s really important. But the Creel Institute is designed to drill way down to the core of an organization to help it find true relevancy by asking the question, What is God’s vision for this organization? With that question solidly answered, an organization can move on to commit critical resources to effectively work within the scope of the vision.

Explain the Creel Model.SM
The Creel Model was inspired by reading a passage from the book of Exodus in the Bible. It was one of those landscape view, wow kind of moments where you see something with soft eyes. Written in the margins of my Bible in this chapter are the words “Vision. Specification. Equipping. Accountability.” The more I thought about it and talked about it, the more it made sense. It’s amazing to read other passages of Scripture and see the same pattern.

Here’s the idea and supporting Scripture:
God had a vision for his sanctuary on earth.

Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you. (Ex 25:8)

He provided the specification for that vision down to the smallest detail.

Have them make a chest of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long… Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out… (Ex 25:10-30:38)

He equipped his people to fulfill his vision.

I have chosen… and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts… Moreover, I have appointed… Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything… (Ex 31: 2-6)

He then held them accountable.

They are to make them just as I commanded you. (Ex 31:11)

How do you know if your vision is God’s vision?
This is the most challenging question an organization can ask. We believe vision is found in passion. I love the Scripture in Luke where the disciples talk about their hearts burning within them. That’s the Holy Spirit pressing on them. Or where Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:16, Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel. That’s passion. Where is God pressing on your heart? Where do you come alive? Where is there confirming Scripture? Where are there confirming circumstances? Where is there risk? Where will God have to come in power for anything extraordinary to happen? If you can answer those questions in a meaningful way, we think you’ll find God’s vision.

Why do you think there’s a need for the Creel Institute?
We’ve served churches and ministries for many years. We see the same needs again and again. Leaders are overwhelmed and forced in multiple directions. Vision is not broadly understood or articulated. Organizational core messages do not exist. Resources are scattered. Staff are not well trained but nevertheless held to high expectations. Communications materials are poorly concepted and created. Decisions are not strategic. Efforts are not directed. Precious dollars are thrown to the wind in a shotgun fashion instead of allocated in a meaningful way to a targeted audience. The people in key roles are tired and frustrated. Energy is spent on false starts rather than bearing fruit.

What is your hope for the Creel Institute?
To see passion lived out and hope ignited. The creative director of the universe is author and perfector of the most amazing purposes. Our desire is to be invested in helping Christian workmen lay claim to his vision and equip them to fulfill it with grace, skill and precision. When men and women catch fish, he triumphs.

Laurie Carney, partner/principal, The Strategy Group LLC

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