John has decided that he is going on a trip this summer, something he’s never done. If John comes to you for advice, what would you tell him are the first three things to do in planning for his trip? Perhaps you would ask John where he is going. Deciding his destination would be a good first step, wouldn’t it? Who’s going with John? That’s another good thought to consider before you get too far along in planning. A third resolve might be “how are you going to travel, plane, car, train? All three of these need to be resolved early in the process. They’re essential to the planning and preparation process.
John has decided to travel by car from Atlanta, Georgia to San Diego, California, with his wife and two young children. What advice will you offer? If you are like me, my first question will likely be, “How much time do you plan to take?” What if John says he has three weeks and is planning to drive to San Diego the first day, in one day, to have more time on the west coast?
It is impossible to drive from Atlanta, Georgia to San Diego, CA in one day. It cannot be done. So, what might help John would be to encourage him to break the trip into segments that he can comfortably drive each day. It is possible to drive from Atlanta, Georgia to Baton Rouge, LA in one day. That could be the first day. The second day could be from Baton Rouge to San Antonio. Then to El Paso the next day, Phoenix, AZ and the fifth day into San Diego. Any trip like this must be broken into doable segments.
Personal or organizational goals must be planned and achieved the same way. Do we often look out into the future for something to accomplish without breaking it into doable targets? I see this happening in both the corporate and religious realms of organizations more often than not. We envision where we want to be or would like to be and take off heading for that goal without proper planning.
Strategic planning for effective implementation is crucial. If John realized that arriving in San Diego would require five days of about 8 hours driving each day, is that all the information he needs? No. Will 8 hours the first day driving north to Dayton, Ohio get him closer to his goal? After all, he did spend eight hours driving that day. Sounds silly and preposterous, doesn’t it? Yet, this is what many individuals, and organizations do.
Arriving at your destination in a timely manner requires planning, strategic planning. If your destination as a church is to fulfill the Great Commission, a life-long commitment, what is the distance you can cover in one year? To say our goal is to fulfill the Great Commission may sound noble, but in reality, it is God’s directive to the church, not your goal. The goal will reveal what direction you are traveling to accomplish the directive in the next segment of time (one year). From here (where we are at today), to where we will be at the end of this year.
To learn more about effectively moving forward read Turnaround Journey or contact George Yates.
George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.