Periodically ministries need to honestly evaluate the present and envision for the future. This is true for teams, ministry divisions, programs or entire organizations. There is a fairly simple way to get at the transitions that one needs to make. It can be done on a white board in four steps.
This exercise, however, is not for the faint of heart or people who easily become defensive. In fact, the major reason more ministries do not look in the mirror to see what is really there in order to move beyond the present to the future is that they find it hard to be honest about their reality. It is too threatening and intimidating. It is far easier to live with the illusion that all is well than to look at the true facts and face reality. It is ministries that refuse to live with illusion and value looking at reality that continue to move toward more fruitful results.
Step one: Celebrate the past. Make a list of the the good things that you can celebrate about where your ministry is. You will be encouraged by the "wins" you have experienced. Here is an important principle. We celebrate the past but we envision the future.
Step two is harder: Look under the hood. This will require you to set aside your ego and act like a consultant to your own organization. The goal here is to look beyond all the good things and make a list of the deficits which you know are there. Where is the organization not working well? Where are there silos? How well are you meeting your mission really? What staff are not performing? Where do you have lack of alignment? I tell staff in this step to act like a consultant to their own organization and tell the truth to the organization where there are major deficits. What would an outsider say to you? Be brutal, honest, candid and realistic about what is. Too many leaders are experts at step one but never go to step two because it is too intimidating. One cannot go forward without being honest about where you are.
Step three: What do you wish your organization looked like? Here you want to define your preferred future: you describe the organization, structure, results and organizational culture you believe would be optimal for you to meet your mission, see significant results and organize for maximum synergy. There should be a counter description for every negative you listed when you looked under the hood. What opportunities is the ministry missing today because of how they are organized? If you could build your ministry from scratch today, how would it look to maximize your ministry impact. This is the picture of what you believe you should become.
Step four: What transitions do you need to make to get to where you are to where you desire to be? In other words, if you were to move from the present to the preferred future while overcoming the issues you discovered by looking under the hood what key transitions would you need to make? Here you are defining the true cost of moving from what is to what you believe needs to be. It is truly your road map to the next level of ministry success and impact.
The transitions you need to make call the question on the courage of the leadership of the organization. Are we willing to pay the price that needs to be paid to get to where we need and want to go? Often the answer, candidly, is no. We may not want to rock the boat or pay the cost of necessary change - which is why many churches and ministries stall out. Courageous leaders, however, will take up the challenge and determine a strategy to make the transitions because their highest value is not comfort but effectiveness.
A simple paradigm with powerful results - for courageous leaders only.