When the Rubber Meets the Road

February 06, 2017

by Dave Zietlow

Recently the pastor of a growing and healthy church reflected in a meeting that “Our church has worked through a process of evaluating what we are good at and where God has blessed us. We have prayed about this thought about where we feel God is leading us to fulfill needs in our community. Now we need to implement that strategy and we don’t see many examples of how to successfully accomplish that task!”

There is an old saying “When the Rubber Meets the Road.” This referred to the time when you were ready to implement an idea or new product. The design and planning had been accomplished. You were ready to embark on your journey or change. Finally, after prayer and discussion the decision is made to start the work. This time of implementation is when the “rubber meets the road”, all the twists and challenges, bumps and complaints, longing to return, and not everyone enthusiastic about the journey. There are practical as well as spiritual elements involved in the change journey. A roadmap needs to be developed and implemented.

Key components of that roadmap:
  • Focus on compelling priorities
    • What excites you about the preferred future state?
    • What are the three big accomplishments that would make you feel successful living in to your preferred future state?
  • Reflect and build on ways you are already living into the preferred future state/strategic plan implementation
    • What have you done previously that you could do again move forward toward your future?
    • What smaller aspects of your preferred state/vision could you experiment with now?
  • Take actions to incorporate elements of the strategic plan into daily life
    • Who are your fellow travelers?
    • Who are people you trust and value who have supported you in the past and will provide support?
    • What small actions that you seek in the preferred future state that could be turned into new actions today?
Practical elements of team building, communications, vision branding, prayer, scripture, leadership development, project management, and accountability must join with scriptural elements of faith, hope, and love to lead our following God in order to implement our strategic plan …

Focus on compelling priorities - Practical and Spiritual Elements:
  • Establish a clear brand for the future state
    • Short and clear statement that can be consistently repeated
    • Focus the future state on Jesus love and grace
    • Develop an ‘elevator talk’ size articulation on the future state so all leaders use the same language when describing the vision
    • Develop and surround that brand with scripture and prayer
    • Develop a process of celebrating success through stories
  • Establish a clear hoped for timetable and outcomes for the future state
    • Suggested time frames are next three months, next six months, next year, next three years
    • Articulate the three big accomplishments in terms of the timeframe and hoped for outcomes
    • Establish accountability
    • Affirm a Holy Spirit driven openness to change the big accomplishments and plan along the way
  • Develop resources available and needed
    • Identify leadership, talent, and resources needed to accomplish the three big accomplishments
    • Establish accountability
    • Rely on God to provide what you need through faith in His provision
Reflect and build on ways you’re already living into the preferred future state/strategic plan implementation - Practical and Spiritual Elements:
  • Integrate your future state / vision team into the Leadership Structure
  • Identify Leadership
    • Recommend that initiative have three leaders – one a visionary, one a project management/logistics gifted leader, and one a relationship builder /inviter
    • Technique to identify those who should be on the implementation team: empty room + ask: who are the six people who fill out the team + what empty chairs gift wise are in the room?
  • Clearly identify initiatives that are part of this implementation
    • Clear articulation of the initiative steps AND their complimentary nature to current church practices/work is important
Take actions to incorporate elements of the strategic plan into daily life - Practical and Spiritual Elements:
  • Surround your work in prayer
  • Utilize project management techniques to understand the timing and impact of one step on future steps – build foundation
  • Integrate the reporting of progress and plans into the traditional leadership and organizational structure
  • Celebrate successes with stories inside the implementation team and the church / community
Key components of that roadmap:
  • Focus on compelling priorities
  • Reflect and build on ways you are already living into the preferred future state/strategic plan implementation
Take actions to incorporate elements of the strategic plan into daily life
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.