In our personal lives, it’s probably easier to step back and determine how best we need to invest the next hours and days of our lives. We can decide for ourselves what’s important now. In organizations, though, it gets complicated as more people are added to the team. At that point, one of three approaches will be embraced.
The boss determines the plan. The person at the top of the organization must call all the shots and determine what’s important now. In churchy terms, this is when we wait for the senior pastor to tell us what God said we’re supposed to do. Of course, the challenge to that approach is that the boss has to be right. Additionally, the managers and the doers love it because someone is telling them exactly what to do. Everyone else that wants to contribute to vision, strategy and innovation, though, is pushed out of the organization.
No one makes the plan. This is what happens when organizations do what they’ve always done. In churchy terms, this is when we neglect our stewardship responsibilities by over-spiritualizing then abdicating our leadership roles. The challenge is that what we’ve always done may not be working. And, without arriving at what’s important now, people begin to fill in the gaps on their own. The organization gets pulled in many directions. At best, the organization is ineffective in its mission. At worst, there’s division.
The team develops the plan. This takes discipline. The team has to intentionally take time to step away from the day-to-day routine. They must consider where the organization is today, where they hope to be in the future and what specifically needs to happen now to get there. There has to be a process to engage conversation and make decisions. That takes discipline in a team environment. It’s hard work. That’s why many teams, particularly in the church, avoid it.
It’s just easier for the Senior Pastor to call the shots. It’s just easier to focus on next Sunday’s service.
How does your church determine what’s important now?