Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Staying on course

During an orienteering exercise in the Army, I was given a map and a compass and a destination. It was simple enough but I ran into an obstacle. Between myself and my destination was a murky, swollen creek of unknown depth. I decided to find a way around it so I made course corrections and reached my destination later than I anticipated but dry and free of leeches.

There are some leadership lessons here:

1. You need to know to your destination. A church needs a clear vision; an understanding and agreement about a preferred future. The clearer the vision the greater the congregational motivation to achieve it.

2. There is more than one way to get there. I could have chosen the dirty (perhaps dangerous) route through the swampy water. Instead, I took the time to weigh the alternatives and chose a longer but cleaner route. If church leaders get in a rush they can make a mess of things resulting in hurt feelings and lost members.

3. Course corrections are required. I've read that NASA made over 1000 course corrections to reach the moon. Even when the vision is clear adjustments are required. There may obstacles or opportunities but knowing the destination allows for good decisions.

In 2002 Baptist Temple went through a vision casting process that involved the whole church. The result was a well written document that outlined goals that were practical, measurable and achievable. It was this document that convinced to accept the call to serve as pastor of the church 3 years ago. Much of what has been achieved in the past few years at Baptist Temple are a result of this document. A few course corrections were needed.

Although the process was called VISION 2012, the document is as vital today as it was 10 years ago. What is needed are course corrections.

All of Baptist Temple is invited to a Long-Range planning workshop to think about what we need to continue implementing the action plan that was painstakingly outlined 10 years ago. We will meet on Friday, October 12 and Saturday morning, October 13.

In the meantime be sure to read the 2002 vision statement.

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