In recent months I have spoken to some of the ministry leaders that intersect my ministry. One of the topics I asked them about is their annual and/or long-term planning cycles. I have been a bit shocked by the number of agency leaders who claim not to see any value in long-term planning or, for some, even annual planning. Their responses are something like this, “We plan, but by the end of the year we have never done exactly what we said we would do, so we stopped annual or long-term planning; it’s not worth the time and effort because our plans always change.”
This response really baffles me. What are these leaders doing to get their agencies or teams on the same page and moving the same direction? For me, the planning process is about direction more than it’s about accomplishing tasks. It’s about pointing to the mountain on the horizon and saying to the team, “There’s where we are going; so, what are we going to do to get there?”
What I am realizing is that my planning is not about activities or events; it’s about core values. Every time my team is together we look at each core value, and then ask these questions:
- What do we need to be doing to make this core value stronger and/or more a part of who we are and what we do?
- How do we help our teams and partners to understand this core value and join us in making it a part of everything we are doing?
- What do we need to do when we see that we have weakness in a core value?
- How do we replicate a stronger core value from one team or partner to the rest of our teams and partners?
Our core values take us the direction we need to go. When new team members join us in fulfilling our core values we know they will be headed in the same direction even if they are proposing and completing different tasks. Our teams are built around people, not around tasks.
We are a people who love Jesus unconditionally. We show our love through our obedience, knowing that is our love language of obedience is not some sort of currency that will purchase God’s love or approval. Our faith is demonstrated in our obedience in all circumstances regardless of any positive or negative consequence.
We value people regardless of background, and strive to understand them from their own perspectives. We have no desire to make others like us, but we have a deep desire to introduce them to the Creator God we know and serve. We are deeply committed to helping people discover Jesus directly from Bible and want our lives to be examples of this commitment, individually and collectively.
We are unapologetically disciple-makers who lean forward into be becoming everything God asks us to be, and invite others to know our God and join us in life’s struggle to see our world become less like hell and more like heaven. We invest in people as long as they continue to develop as disciples and leaders. When people choose to stop or take a different path, we continue on our way.
We are not afraid to try new things. We value continuous learning inside and outside our fields of expertise. We understand that groups learn better than individuals. Through experience we recognize that we learn better through discovery than we do from expert teachers. Our expert teachers introduce people to a discovery learning process, and help us to ask the right questions in order to learn more quickly and much deeper.
We are a people of prayer who seek the face of God. We want to know Him and align ourselves with Him. And as we align ourselves with Him we establish a path that others may follow and find themselves nearer to God.
Core Value Planning depends on maturing Disciples of Jesus who listen to the Holy Spirit and align themselves with God in loving and serving others in such a way that other can also become maturing disciples, regardless of background or station in life. We help our team members to plan how they will grow closer to God and bring others onto the path that will lead them to grow closer to God and bring others….