June 24, 2013

Taking Time

Last week, everyone in my department took a morning to collect themselves and look at the months ahead. We talked about future events and deadlines, about messaging, and about our big ideas. 

We could easily have spent that time last week producing something, or planning an event, but it’s important to take time out occasionally to stop and get organized. Summer is often a good time for that.

Church employees and volunteers are probably better than most at remembering the importance of taking time for retreat, to collect ourselves. This is important spiritually, but also practically and professionally. 

It’s not just helpful, but necessary, especially in an organization like the church in which the goals aren’t always so easily measured and sometimes the next step isn’t obvious.

Here are some things that we did at the meeting, which I think can be helpful for church leaders: 

  • Discuss what’s coming up but don’t get bogged down in the details. It’s helpful just to get everyone on the same page. 
  • Give everyone time to talk about their big ideas and dreams for the organization. Of course, everyone should understand that there’s no guarantee that any of their ideas will actually be implemented, but giving everyone a chance to put them out there is exciting, and helps people feel connected to and part of creating the vision for the organization. 
  • Talk about the message or vision of the church or organization. This can be a helpful reminder of your church or organization’s vision or mission, even if it’s simply “Make disciples of all nations,” or “Love God with all your heart and soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • Talk about your past accomplishments. It’s helpful to look at the past year and what’s gone well.

These times of refocusing and organizing ourselves can seem like procrastination, or they can feel like taking time out of a busy schedule that you don’t really have, but they are essential to being an effective and productive team.