Tag Archives: plans

3 Steps to Get From Here to There

When I was still serving as a children’s pastor, one of the churches I was on staff at had never hosted a summer Vacation Bible School. This is typically a week-long event for elementary age children that is high energy and filled with games, crafts teachings, music, etc. The whole purpose of the week is to help kids know and follow Jesus better. Unfortunately, at that time, the typical week was very focused on the kids already coming to the church. My heart was to create an event that focused more on kids in the community who had never been to church before.


The church staff heard my dream and supported my vision. After six months of planning, the big day hit and I was overwhelmed to see 300 kids attend our first ever night. We did things very differently than a typical church event and it was a huge success. While I acknowledge that it was truly a God-led moment, there were also many things that I needed to do as the leader to see the vision come to pass. Upon reflection, there are three basic steps that will help us as leaders move our vision from here to there…from a dream to a reality.

Vision – throughout the Bible, we see stories of people with amazing vision that God brings to fruition (Daniel, Abraham, and Mary to name a few) and those who lacked vision and ended in defeat (Samson, King Saul and Judas). Without vision, we have no direction, no purpose and nowhere to see our passion manifest. Vision provides the answers to so many questions. Vision keeps us focused on the big picture when the little details seem overwhelming. Vision rallies others when they see our enthusiasm and it matches up with passion of their own. 

My vision was to create an event that would attract kids to attend church and learn about God in a fun and high-energy environment. This was compelling enough to draw support from church staff and volunteers because I was so fired up about it that the excitement became contagious. A vision is not truly compelling until it keeps the leader up at night! What is that dream you have been holding on to that God might be surfacing right now? Write it down and keep it in sight!

Strategy – while it is a blast to dream and reach for the sky, it can quickly become an exercise of frustration if there is not a framework for accomplishment. This is what strategy provides. How many different components does your vision entail? How many people do you need to join the team in order to see success? What are the big rocks you must have in order to make progress towards achievement? Strategy is your game plan, your map, your flow chart. Strategy shows the basic route to get from here to there. Strategy does not require a lot of details, but it definitely requires a sense of direction and needs to get to your vision. And the best strategy is often created within the context of a team instead of one individual attempting to see all of the angles and possibilities. 

My strategy was to split up the Vacation Bible School into as many different areas as possible and give away as much authority as possible to key volunteers. We had snacks and games and teachings and music. Multiple generations of volunteers were serving and one person was even in charge of gathering prizes (for free!!) from local businesses. Meetings were planned, checkpoints of accomplishment were determined and the strategy kept everybody moving the same direction at the same time to the culmination of our vision. What an incredible demonstration of the power of team! Without strategy we would have been a bunch of chickens running around, but with strategy we were a team of cyclists planning to win the Tour de France.

Tactics – here is where the rubber meets the road. All of the dreams and strategies must eventually land in basic, daily tasks. These are the practical steps needed to accomplish the vision. A journey of a thousand miles is completed one step at a time. It might seem counterintuitive, but the dream is actually in the details. Without the details, the dream remains a dream. With the details, the dream becomes a reality that often far exceeds our wildest hopes. 

Checklists might not seem exciting but they prevent us from forgetting key components for our vision. Deadlines are essential and somebody has to be in charge of making copies, right? Practical tactics allowed me to see over 300 kids and almost 100 volunteers come together for a week that truly transformed hundreds of lives. And this event has continued to this day making a difference for hundreds of kids every summer for almost fifteen years.

So, how do we get from here to there? My suggestion is to start backwards. Determine the “there”, otherwise known as your vision. Write it down, let it sink deep into your heart and then, when it’s time to share, your passion will be contagious. Develop a team to help create the framework of strategy and then work out the details that will lead to accomplishment. And write it all down as you go. My greatest blessing is to see something that God had me start years ago continue to this day under the leadership of other people because if the vision is the right one, it will outlast the leader.

~ Mike

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Starting Your Day Off Right

Mornings for me are best if I can sit by the beach, drink a cup of coffee and read a good book. Mornings make me smile when I can hug my pillow just a bit longer, keep the lights off or just watch a good movie. While I think we might have things messed up by demanding so much of our mornings, I have learned that my day changes drastically depending upon how it starts. Family and work rarely afford me the luxuries that I wish my mornings were filled with. I truly hope that I am not alone with this struggle! 


So, if starting the day right is so crucial, why do so many of us approach our mornings in a very haphazard way? I admit that I used to do this, but enough years and enough reading has taught me that I must be intentional about my mornings in order to help the rest of my day go much smoother. For good or bad, here are some of my best tips to starting your day off right. 

** A good morning actually starts the day before. I check my alarm each night and match it with known activities. On a work day, this is the same time every morning. On weekends it varies, but I still typically use an alarm to get up and moving. I set out my clothes when the morning starts with work and I have a general sense when I go to bed of when my first meetings or projects are happening in the morning. I’m already ahead of the game through preparation. 

** My morning alarm is honestly my biggest struggle. Whoever invented the snooze button is an evil person. My plan is a single snooze per morning and the goal is to not sleep through the snooze, but to lay quietly and just breathe in the morning. In this area, my plan is much stronger than my reality but I still need to have the goal and get closer to it on a regular basis.

** Plan time for some downtime. Yes, that might seem odd since the day has just begun, but it is amazing what some quiet alone time does for my mornings. Coffee, devotions, journaling or sometimes just scrolling Twitter is still some much needed “me” time to start my day. 

** Know your morning commute and make the most of it. Except for very rare occasions, we all know what the drive to work looks like. Rather than spending that time stressed and made at all of the other stressed and mad drivers, put it to good use. Podcasts are an amazing tool for the traffic drive. In addition, maybe you just need some good music or you can meditate or pray for people. Whatever works for you, let traffic be your partner, not your adversary. 

** Hit the ground running at work. While it is tempting to stand around the coffee pot for thirty minutes, this actually becomes a drain when the end of the day feels rushed and overwhelmed. Have a plan, work the plan and accomplish the plan. This daily process will compel you to get the next day off to an even better start.

What about you? What gets your day off to a great start? I would love to hear some ideas that I might incorporate into my own routine. 

~ Mike