“You Are Here” and Getting To There

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Have you ever been completely turned around in a mall or an amusement park, desperately looking for a directory?  One of those big maps with a large red star that says “You Are Here?”  Sometimes that red star simply helps you see where you are.  Sometimes it is an essential ingredient in getting to where you want to go.

This illustration is from one of my most requested talks. I explained it recently in an article called Different Leads to a Church OF Groups.  Today I want to highlight another important aspect of the concept, a teeny tiny detail with huge implications that often gets overlooked.

Last week I wrote that “the only way to get to there (the preferred future) is to move over to a new trajectory.”  Although I didn’t spend any time on it, you can see right away that the current trajectory leads to the probable future.  And as you can imagine, the probable future is not much different than today.  In fact, we could say that if nothing changes about your strategy or execution, tomorrow will be pretty much like today.  That’s why I say “the well-worn path never arrives at a new destination.”

Today I want to point out that where you are today (the present in the illustration) is a direct result of decisions you’ve made in the past.  Where you are right now (the state of your coaching structure, the health of your small group system, etc.) is actually the probable future of sometime back in the past.

Think about that.  The decisions you’ve made over the years have actually created the present state of your small group ministry.  You’re having trouble finding enough leaders?  It’s largely because of decisions you’ve made (or a predecessor).  Can’t make a coaching structure come together?  Probably a result of a string of ideas, strategies and tactics from the past.  Stuck at the same level of group participation?  You got it.  The most likely culprit is the set of past decisions.

Andy Stanley says, “Your ministry is perfectly designed to produce the results you are currently experiencing.”  Want different results?  You’ve got to change the design.  Want to arrive at a new destination?  You’ve got to move over to a new trajectory.

How do you move over to a new trajectory?  You learn to think differently about things like building an effective coaching structure.  You open your eyes to new ways to launch groups like the small group connection or you lower the bar in terms of who can lead a group and embrace the HOST concept.  You move to a new trajectory by unleashing the exponential power of a perfectly executed church-wide campaign.

Memo: It won’t be easy.  If your present is the direct result of decisions made in the past, escaping the straight-jacket of conventional thinking will be difficult.  But you can do it!  And you must do it if you want to arrive at a new destination.

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  1. Mike Mack on November 1, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Really liking these articles, Mark. Just in time for writing our goals for 2011! Keep them coming!

  2. Mark Howell on November 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks Mike! Glad you can make use of the ideas!