Taking the long view

dirt pipe construction foundationWe’ve all heard the expression, “We overestimate what we can do in one year and significantly underestimate what can be accomplished in three years.” We tend to be overly ambitious for what can happen in a year. We raise expectations– our own and those of others– and then fall short because we didn’t take the time to build the foundation sufficiently.

Why was it you went into ministry again?

russian nesting dolls

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves why we went into ministry in the first place. Odds are, it was not for the money. It was to make disciples and to raise up leaders. More than that, it was to make disciples who would go on to make more disciples who would go on to make more disciples. It was to raise up leaders who would raise up more leaders who would then go on to raise up yet more leaders. That’s the vision of second Timothy 2:2:

Confusion of goals

bannister direction

“It seems to me that the perfection of means and confusion of goals seem to characterize our age.” — Albert Einstein

That’s food for thought, isn’t it?  Reflect on this quote today.  What light can it shed on your ministry?

An exercise in visioncasting

In order to grow and keep moving forward, we need to know where we’re headed. Nice-sounding but vague goals may seem helpful, but actually serve to hold us back. For instance, we want disciples but haven’t clarified what a disciple looks like. Or we want to develop leaders, but aren’t clear on what what we want these leaders to do.

Try the following exercise to help you sharpen your vision:

Sit down with some paper or a computer and ask yourself two questions: Where are you now? Where do you want to be in 3 to 5 yrs? Being as detailed as possible, paint a picture in your mind contrasting your present situation with your preferred future. How will the future be different than the present?

The key to leadership development…

… is knowing what you’re trying to accomplish. If you want to develop leaders—and know that you’re being successful in that endeavor—you need to get more concrete and specific about what you’re aiming for. What does a leader look like? How do you know if you have one? A good map isn’t helpful unless you know your destination.

Take time to reflect on these three questions:

• What are you trying to produce?

• What’s the process for figuring that out?

• How do you make sure it’s linked in with your values?

Examining your own ministry

This week I’m doing a five-part series to help you critically examine and sharpen your own ministry. The goal is to create a template that will allow you to serve as a consultant for your own ministry… a way of reflecting, assessing and clarifying where you are and where you want to go.

Today is step 1: vision.

What are you trying to accomplish? Start by laying out the answer to that question as clearly as you can:

  • e.g. Our goal is to multiply churches (plants or satellites) to reach 1% of Chicago: 29,000 people.
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