If you were planning to take a trip, a journey, this summer, what are three of the first things you would need to plan? Perhaps you said where to, who is going, how will you get there? There are many things to consider; why this destination? What is your objective, rest, relaxation, sight-seeing, visiting historical sights? When we plan a trip with our family we consider these and many more. In churches and other organizations we plan as well. However, there is a big difference in planning and strategic planning for effective results.
In the church for instance I often hear of how much we gave. Assisting churches to find where their true focus is I often hear responses as; “We gave away 150 backpacks.” Or “We handed out 300 bottles of water at the community festival.” While these efforts are worthy of our time and resources they are not necessarily fulfilling the mission of the church, The Great Commission. You can hand out 300 bottles of water without once sharing the gospel. In fact the pastor of one church I was working with came to the conclusion, “There is nothing we have been doing in our booth that an atheist in the very next booth could not do.”
This pastor realized his church was doing social ministry, not sharing the story of Christ – fulfilling the Great Commission. Each year this church held planning meetings, involved several members of the congregation and encouraged every member to be involved in the community festival. They contributed to the festival, participated in the two day festival in a church sponsored booth. They were giving away free “stuff” all weekend. Yet, they were not sharing Jesus. The pastor and members of his church came to the conclusion that while they were involved and participating, they were not acting as a New Testament church. Unfortunately, many of our churches are playing this scenario in their communities – and believe they are doing it in the name of Christianity. It might be in the name of Christianity, but it is in name only and it does not match up with what we read in the book of Acts.
When you plan for a trip, if you are going to drive, you plan your route. How are you going to get to your destination. You plan which roads to take and what you will see along the way. You identify signs, cities, and sights you will encounter along the way. On your trip you watch for those particular roads, signs, and attractions. These are destination indicators. They are indicators that you are traveling in the right direction. (See Turnaround Journey)
As a church when you plan, plan for results – effective results that move you toward your destination. As the church your ultimate destination should be to fulfill the Great Commission; make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to observe all the things of God in Christ Jesus. Not only plan for effective results, you need to build in destination indicators so that along the journey you can identify that you are truly being effective and moving in the right direction.
What are the first three things you need to build into your planning for effective ministry? Be sure they include destination indicators along the journey.
Destination indicators are only one element of a successful equation laid out in Turnaround Journey. Most churches never build in destination indicators or other factors that you would never dream of leaving out of planning and implementing for a trip with your family. For more information on strategic planning and implementation for effective results contact George Yates and purchase your copy of Turnaround Journey, available at Amazon, Barnes&noble.com, SonC.A.R.E. Ministries, and other on-line retailers.