Serving Him Together,
I know the title of the article (“When Strategy is Not Intentional What Happens”) is not positive. I intentionally tried in the article to not focus on the title, but how to make your strategy in using a resource like PLACE positive and with some simple steps. But what does happen in this case? Simply, a resource like PLACE dangles off a cliff with little to no effectiveness and eventually words like, “Yes we tried PLACE and it didn’t work for us”.
Several years ago I was invited to spend the day with a church staff whose church was rapidly declining in attendance and by all measures would not be considered healthy. I shouldn’t have been shocked when I discovered what I did in my day with them, but I was shocked.
In being asked to come in and consult with a church on implementing the PLACE process I will almost always spend several hours looking at the church’s website and often listen to sermons if they are available online. The church I mentioned above was one I thoroughly studied the information they had on their website. They had a neat mission, vision and values statements prominently spelled out on their website. So, I asked the staff how they could envision PLACE being connected to their mission, vision, and values. I shouldn’t have been, but again was shocked when not one (yes not one out of 8 staff members) knew their mission, vision and values statements, so obviously they couldn’t know how to connect PLACE to what they did not know. I wish this was the exception, but sadly it is often the norm for churches wanting to use not only a resource like PLACE but with any resource they use.
In 1998-99 I wrote the PLACE Implementation Guide to be incorporated into implementing the PLACE process. While it was a big notebook with a fair amount of practical “how to” steps it was also very theoretical as I was just starting PLACE without much practical experience. In 2010 I decided to take all I had learned in 12+ years and re-write the PLACE Implementation Guide.
The Implementation Guide re-write was not theoretical but filled with the steps that ARE NECESSARY to successfully implement a tool and resource like PLACE. In the Implementation Guide, there are four steps with MANY strategies to implement the four steps.
The four PLACE Implementation Steps are:
1. Determine Your Purpose
2. Communicate Your Purpose
3. Execute Your Purpose
4. Evaluate Your Purpose
Unfortunately, when churches are interested in implementing the PLACE process Steps 1 and 2 (Determine and Communicate) are often skipped and Step 4 (Evaluate) is often never done. So often churches go straight to how to Execute (Step 3) PLACE and what all is involved in this step in launching PLACE.
I have taught many times since rewriting the PLACE Implementation Guide in 2010 the four steps I outlined in the Implementation Guide in our workshops around the country. I believe in the four steps. About three years ago I went on staff as Pastor of Discipleship at my church and PASSIONATELY came to believe in them even more as I was and am working to make PLACE part of the DNA of our church and our discipleship strategy.
Almost 2 ½ years ago I helped launch what we call Lunch with the Pastor where we invite those who have been attending our church as guests to a luncheon with our senior pastor, staff and several leaders throughout our church to hear about the purpose, mission, and vision of our church. We also give them an opportunity to join the church at the luncheon if they believe God is leading them to affiliate in membership. At our first Lunch with the Pastor, our senior pastor made a statement that perfectly connected Steps 1 and 2 (Determine and Communicate) for using a tool like PLACE. He told those attending we want to help believers who are led to our church get fully engaged and involved in the life and ministry of our church. The last two-plus years I or he have Communicated (Step 2) almost every month in a time during our worship services where we promote our discipleship process called Journey On the words my pastor used in our first Lunch with the Pastor.
We Determined (Step 1) our purpose was to get every believer engaged and involved in the life and ministry of our church and we Communicate (Step 2) that purpose every month in various ways. Below is a card I have created to help people sign up for what we call Backstage Pass and PLACE that gives a great visual of our Journey On discipleship process and how PLACE fits into our strategy and process. Click on the arrow within the picture to watch about 2 minutes from a sermon where my pastor, Jeff Jackson Communicated (Step 2) in a powerful way our purpose and show how PLACE fits into the purpose of helping believers get engaged and involved.
So, if you are currently using PLACE Determine(Step 1) how it connects to an existing purpose already being Communicated (Step 2) in your church and finds ways to continually Communicate (Step 2) it as part of your existing strategy and purpose and continually refine and Evaluate (Step 4) your purpose.
And finally, I would love to have the opportunity to have you attend a PLACE workshop where I take you through how to implement all four steps in making PLACE part of your church or organization’s DNA.