Michael Jordan… Brett Favre… Landon Donovan… Michael Phelps… Marshawn Lynch… Manny Pacquiao… the list of athletes who “unretired” goes on and on. Some had a hard time “hanging them up,” whereas others were talked into a return to the sport they loved. Analogies often fall short and in this case, mine will fall dramatically short, as these athletes are known by the masses, I am not— but I got to go one more round, start one more game and take the field again in my 18-month return to the youth pastorate. I decided to write a quick blog-series of things I relearned or prioritized. Before I relive another realization I invite you to check out the first post in the series here.
After a very short and intentional period reviewing what had been— asking some key questions of select students, leaders, staff and parents and taking some time to review recent events and curriculum used — a short-term, immediate plan needed to be named and claimed, leading to my second point…
Relaunch Realization Number TWO: Know and Name Your Short-Term Aspirations
Taking on an interim is different than a full-time permanent role, however, I believe the beginning stage can and should be the same, you have to figure out the immediate short-term wins before diving into the long-term strategy and vision. The low-hanging fruit for us at Faith (my church) was to establish a relational and communicational (is that a word?) base! Pictured above is a screen shot of a slide I presented of our desires at our Parent Gathering two weeks into my interim period.
There were many contributing factors to why our group was where it was (church issues, leadership changes, graduations, etc.), but the immediate needs were clear to me. Our students simply needed a place to belong and become (with “belong” being the low hanging fruit). I believed this could be established during the summer months through a series of highly relational events with low or no program elements. In addition to being a win for the students, this low-program approach would give our leaders the opportunity to turn their attention to relationships (with students and parents alike).
It seems very elementary, but I prioritized naming the short-term aspirations with the three groups that mattered most; students, leaders and parents needed to all be on the same page with our short-term goals. I was intentional with these plans and began to communicate:
- I sent an invite to parents with two weeks notice come to a Parent Gathering where I shared the summer plans
- I sent an invite to leaders and hosted a Leaders Gathering/Dinner in our backyard where I could hear their hopes, goals and needs and share my hopes for more activity with less responsibility
- I sent and invite to students to an open-house coffee time, where I would simply listen to their hopes and dreams and plant the seeds for our simple and relational summer
My purpose in all three was to simply and intentionally name our short-term destination.
Are you intentional in naming where you’re going? If not, let me encourage you to consistently name the short-term destination, it seems most like to know where we’re going!