Every year at Community Christian Church we identify 3-5 all-church initiatives. These all-church initiatives are objectives that we believe God is calling us to accomplish over the course of the next ministry year.
As a part of the process for developing these initiatives last week I was with our Lead Team holed-up in a nearby hotel for 1 1/2 days. I just got back from hanging out with all our Directors at Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center in Starved Rock State Park for 24 hours. Great place and good time! The most important thing that happened was my volleyball team won all three games and the last game 15-1! The next most important thing that happened was our staff coming together to move forward on four key all-church initiatives. These are initiatives that we will accomplish during the ’06-’07 ministry year which begins in September ’06 and concludes in August ’07. So, how did we come to these initiatives? Here are 7 steps and a time line that give you an overview of the process that we use to set all-church initiatives.
Step #1 – Prayer (March ’06): If you were to read my journal you would notice that 6 months prior to the launch of these new initiatives I’m consistently asking God for guidance about what is next for CCC. The most important task of the primary leader and the staff leadership of a church is to hear from God. As I sense God giving me and others direction I write these ideas into my journal for future reference.
Step #2 – Series of Gatherings with Key Leaders (April – June ’06): I don’t trust myself to determine the initiatives for the CCC; I want to hear from from other key leaders who have invested their life in this church. So the next step in the process includes brainstorming, prioritizing and narrowing it down a list of potential initiatives to three or four and no more than five. This past year that process resulted in the following gatherings of key leaders (in our case all these leaders were staff):
- 1 1/2 hour meeting to brainstorm possible initiatives with Lead Team and Directors.
- 1 1/2 hour meeting to prioritize possible initiatives with Lead Team and Directors.
- 1/2 day meeting with Lead Team to review possible initiatives
- 1 1/2 day retreat with Lead Team to narrow down possible initiatives to 3-5 that we will present to Directors.
- 1 1/2 day retreat with Lead Team and Directors to present possible initiatives and determine which initiatives we will present to our all-staff.
- 1 day retreat with all-staff to hear and review our initiatives for the coming ministry year.
Step #3 – Strategy for Accomplishment (July – August ’06) – During the rest of the summer our staff will come up with a strategy for accomplishing these ministries. Sometimes this means creating new teams to determine the strategy for these initiatives and other times you can leverage existing teams.
Step #4 – Communicate the Vision (September ’06): Every Fall all our apprentice leaders, leaders, coaches and staff (500+) are invited to an event where we present the vision for these initiatives in as creative way as possible. This event has been on a Friday night or at our monthly Leadership Community on a Saturday morning. The primary reasons for this event is to communicate in a memorable way our new initiatives and provide the initial motivation
Step #5 – Implement the Initiatives (September ’06 – August ’07): The easy part is coming up with new ideas, getting excited and creatively communicating the vision. The most effort comes in actually working the strategy and implementing the initiatives over the course of the next 12 months starting in September and finishing by next August.
Step #6 – Communicate Progress on the Initiatives (January ’07 & June ’07): Vision leaks. Since vision leaks you need to find multiple ways and multiple times to remind people of the initiatives for this ministry year. In addition to keeping them front of people you need to find a couple times a year to communicate the progress being made on these initiatives. Twice during our ministry year at one of our monthly Leadership Community gatherings (usually January and June) we will give a detailed update on the progress we are making on our initiatives. These are great times to acknowledge people and places that are really getting it done.
Step #7 – Celebrating the Accomplishment of the Initiatives (August ’07): At the end of the ministry year we will celebrate with all our leaders where we are winning and the accomplishment (or progress) of these 3 to 5 initiatives during the last ministry year. Celebration and acknowledgment of hard work is essential if you want to people to feel fulfilled and to go through this process again.
As I look back over the last few years using this process for creating new initiatives – this is how we got new sites started, new churches planted and building built! And it all starts with hearing from God.