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direction

Work Your P.L.A.N. for Ministry Success

Planning concept. 3d rendered image

I know there always feels like in ministry that there is so much to do and to get done. How do you tackle the things you need to do? Get rid of the things you should not be doing? Keep your teams focused and going all in the same direction?

There is a way to use the word PLAN which could be used as a tool to help keep you moving along with your mission. One place that has recorded using this PLAN is over on: Fuller Youth Institute.

Originally published as “Evaluation Part 2: Planning the Work and Working the P.L.A.N.” by Mark Maines for FYI in April 2006.

Priorities
Lasting Results
Action Strategies
Next Steps

By tackling these questions in succession, many have found that their ministries can stay more focused on the mission, more informed about what to do next, and more accountable to see those plans through. Here’s basically what it looks like:

Priorities:

What we want to carry out.
What are the most important things we need to do in our key ministry areas to move our mission forward?
What are the things we need to do and complete in the coming year? Coming months? Coming weeks? Coming days?
Lasting Results: Setting the targets for performance

Lasting Results:

What will be the results that will help us know we have accomplished our priorities?
How will we set these targets so that they become an exercise in faith as well as effective leadership?
Action strategies: Setting the stage for execution

Action Strategies:

How will we go about accomplishing what we want to see happen?
What are the right strategies, or best practices, that we might use?

Next Steps:

Making our “to do” lists
Who will do the work?
When will it be accomplished?

Have you made your P.L.A.N. for ministry success?
What tools do you use to keep you moving forward with your mission?

Top 5 posts and bottom 5

I am looking over the past posts of blogging and first noticed that it has been hard for me to post anything close to regular postings. The thing that amazes me most is the traffic that has still come in with some of the posts and the lack of traffic on some others.

Today I will post the top 5 visited posts and the bottom 5 (ignored) posts. Maybe as you look over the bottom 5 you will see that you just missed it but actually enjoy it.  You could help me to spread the word by linking to it or mentioning it in the facebook world or the twitter world. Maybe you will read one of the top 5 and help move one of them to my all time top blog post.

The power is in your hands. Thanks for following.

Top 5
1. 7 Questions to hitting your target.

2. Everyone is a walking billboard

3. Coaching Now even though this is not a blog post it still continuously ranks in the top 5 things landed on on my blog site.

4. You think you know how to motivate? Think again.

5. 11 Books that have caused change in my life since reading.

Now here is the bottom 5

1. American idol leadership

2. Successful people have successful habits

3. Risk to become better

4. Gods style pouring

5. Growth through vision

Hope you enjoy the top 5 and the bottom 5.

Add Value by studying process

Your church probably engages in many different processes. Each of these processes (some may be intentional and known and some may not be as well-known or even intentional) contributes to the mission of your church.

These processes determine the success of your church. Without them, there would not be any discipleship, mentoring, evangelism, training, and so on. Processes−once developed and set in motion−tend to self-perpetuate until someone intentionally changes them (this is often easier said than done). The sum of all the processes defines not only what the church does but also determines the success or lack of it.

One of the most powerful ways that we as children’s pastors (middle management) can add value to our churches and Senior Pastors is to know the processes our churches engage in. What does this mean? It means knowing each step of what happens and what doesn’t, and who does it and why. Are there steps that can be skipped or abbreviated? Are there steps which must remain? Know the individual people who handle the processes and learn their strengths, weaknesses, and needs.

By becoming well-educated in all of this it will help those of us who are children’s pastors to better serve our churches and our senior pastors. It will also help us build greater traction in our children’s ministries which we have been entrusted to oversee.

How many of us have had that feeling that we can’t make changes, that our roles are not that important, and that we are stuck in just doing what we are told to do? Stop feeling this way. Become active in helping with the whole. Make yourself a student of your church and its processes. As you become a student of your church’s processes you will discover it is one of the greatest ways you can add value to your church and everyone connected to it. It also enhances the importance of your role that you personally play. This will also produce enormous long-term rewards for you.

Don’t be afraid of Change.

Some quick thoughts on the topic of change. Principles must guide a leader in managing change positively, effectively, and gracefully.

– It’s important that we focus more on what we need to be than on what we need to do.

– The quality of our relationships is the key to establishing a positive ethos for change.

– People follow easily the leader who undertakes meaningful changes clearly and connects them to a strategy.

– An organizations capacity to change depends to a great degree on effective followership.

The work of bringing about change is the leaders job. Yes there are risks and tensions. The tensions and our understandable fear of them often inhibit an organizations ability to welcome change. Here are some possible sources for these tensions and are by no means an exhaustive list.

– Lack of preparation.

– Our complete inability to control change.

– The comfort of routine.

– Ignorance of the reasons for change.

– The inability to reconcile events with values.

– Determining how much change a person and/or family or organization can digest.

Maybe if we understand some of the sources of tension around change it could help. But, just understanding some possible tensions and the source of them will not remove all risk. An unwillingness to accept risk has swamped more leaders than any of us may know about. But, risk is just like change, it is natural, predictable and should be welcomed.

Clarity is a must

How often do we think that as we communicate with others that what we are thinking and saying is perfectly clear? Probably a ton of times for each of us. How many times do we share what we want people to do, or share the vision of our ministries and still people don’t exactly seem to pick it up?

I want to share with you a story I picked up somewhere over the years that i think does a great and humorous job of helping us to see how important it is to be clear when we are speaking to kids. We need to look over our words, phrases, terminology, visuals, all of it and really think through our audience we are talking with to make sure that when we are done communicating we have not just “talked” but really “communicated” clearly.

Two old boys were out in the boonies deer hunting, and somehow Ed managed to accidentally shoot Buster. It was a pretty serious thing, and they knew they needed help.

Buster reached into his pocket and pulled out a cell phone. He handed it to Ed. “Here,“buster gasped, “call 911 and the tell them what you did.” Then buster lost consciousness. Ed dialed up the number,got a signal, and in about five seconds he was talking to a 911 operator.

“I accidentally shot buster and I think he’s dead!” Ed shouted into the phone.

The 911 operator was reassuring and told Ed she’d walk him through exactly what Ed needed to do. “The first thing,” said the operator, “is to stay calm so you can take action. I can tell you’re excited. Take a few deep breaths for me.”

Ed did that and sure enough, he could feel his heart quit beating so fast.

“Great,“said the operator. “Now, the second thing is to make sure your friend is actually dead.”

The operator heard the phone as it was set on the ground then a shot rang out, Ed came back online. “OK, I made sure he was dead” Ed said. “What’s the next thing?”

In this little story Ed did really well following directions. He did everything that was asked of him. But because he didn’t catch hold of the goal (to save busters life),he ended up doing something foolish. (Now, just a s a disclaimer, this is a fictitious story and no one should really do this and no one was really hurt during the telling of this make believe story)

Even though this story was as stated a fictitious story, something happens all across the globe all the time that is not fictitious. It is when we think we are clear when we are not and we challenge boys and girls to win the world, & be all they can be for God and “we” lose them through our un-clarity and God gets the blame.

It is our responsibility as leaders to make sure people understand the goals and purpose of what we are telling them about so they can make good decisions. I believe that when kids, parents, and families have “clear” communication they will find ways to succeed.

Is this clear?

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