Interim pastors often use brainstorming to push church mission statements forward. The process of clarifying mission, vision and values - so the thinking goes - makes it easier to identify the church's primary purpose and the best strategy for moving into the future. So the thinking goes...
I'm starting to wonder if those of us who serve as interim ministers are using a useful tool ineffectively. I've seen lots of fine church mission statements developed in this way, but they don't all have legs. Here's the problem with church mission statements that emerge out of brainstorming, at least in this interim pastor's view:
- Brainstorming is a thought process
- Brainstorming sessions about mission (in interim church situations) includes people who never have and never will engage in mission
- Brainstorming features the strengths of thinkers and talkers but features the weaknesses of servants
- Brainstorming often doesn't include ministry leaders because they're too busy doing the work
- Brainstorming doesn't produce fruit until a strategic plan has been developed.
- And guess who develops strategic plans? (Hint: it's often not the people who have to put them into action)
So I'm starting to think about more effective ways interim pastors can lead the development of church mission statements that will stick to the ribs - without the bother of brainstorming. This article from FastCompany has me off on my own brainstorming session!
- The development team should spend more time on the streets than in a meeting room
- More should be written on the hearts than on Post-it notes
- The team should come to the planning session laden with ideas born of recent experience
- Spend less time on theory (just give them a biblical mission and worry about fancy language later) and more time on "here's how we can do it"
- Have more doers and servers than talkers and elected leaders
- The object isn't a mission or vision or values statement. The object is a set of action steps that will move the church forward
Interim pastors have the privilege of introducing new ways to accomplish the task at hand.
I'm interested in your feedback about brainstorming and planning. Have you had success in using brainstorming as a development tool? Did the resulting plans and ideas have legs (were they executed and did they produce results) or did they not catch fire? If they did work, to what would you attribute that success?