Measuring Pages or Counting Impact?
There’s an old joke that consultants (and lawyers) must get paid by the page, and that’s why they create lengthy documents. I’ve seen plenty of those reports, and so have you. And we know what happens with them. They’re inserted in a 3-ring binder with a nice label on the spine and then put on a shelf, never to be used again. Frankly, the same thing happens in a lot of planning processes even when a consultant is not involved.
If you look inside those binders, you will typically discover several things. In an appendix in the back will be data – lots of it. It will include internal data on attendance and finances and programs and anything else that is measured. It will include external data on demographic trends. The binder may include notes from interviews with various constituents. And, of course, it will include plans. The plans may be extensive in their detail, sweeping in the number of initiatives that are recommended, and far-reaching in the number of years that are covered.
The problem is that a binder doesn’t produce results, and this kind of binder can actually hinder progress. This stereotypical report is a compilation of ideas, as if more pages will lead to more good things happening. I don’t share that perspective, and my guess is that you don’t either. I would much rather create a simple plan with measurable impact than count the pages in a weighty tome.
How do you do that? You start with clarity around your unique strengths and what God is calling you to be. You are realistic about your resource constraints, not limiting God but recognizing that some good ideas need to be done later (not now) and some need to be done by some other church or ministry (not yours). This means that you must be willing to say “no,” and even upset some people, so that you can run hard after a few great opportunities. It’s not easy, but when you quit counting pages and focus on impact, great things can happen.