I had a great conversation with a ministry this week. They are ten years old and the goal of the conversation was to figure out how they could accomplish in the next two years more than they had in the past ten years.
Now that may sound like an audacious goal, but not necessarily - because, when one stops and thinks about it, lessons have been learned positive and negative that could change the nature of how the ministry approached its next run and from those lessons extrapolate ministry strategy that is far more successful.
The answers to "what have we learned in the first ten years" filled a huge whiteboard several times over. The dialogue around those lessons started to clarify in these leaders minds, how they needed to shape their strategy for the future.
Once we had done this we moved to a second question. What "game changers" could we think of that would dramatically increase the ministry's impact in the next two years. We put one other thing on the table: as we considered the next two years we wanted to totally ignore how we were currently configured and ask how we would organize the ministry today if we were starting all over - knowing what we know today.
Our goal was to erase from our minds our preconceived conceptions of how things should be done (because we have always done them that way) and ask how we would organize today if we were starting from scratch based on lessons learned. Again, we came up with some significant game changers along with robust dialogue around those potential changes.
Based on those "game changers" this ministry is moving forward and taking some calculated risks about how they see a quantum leap in their ministry effectiveness - based on the positive and negative lessons learned in their past.
If you have never tried this exercise I would strongly encourage you to do so. Your team actually has an amazing amount of information as to what has worked well and what has not worked well but until one puts that in black and white and asks one can leverage that valuable information for the future, we continue to do what we always did - out of sheer habit.