Last week we launched our first Virtual Strategy Lab with church leaders from across the US who are looking for the next steps toward ‘thriving’ in the virtual church environment. The goal for these 6-week online cohorts is to help leaders gain clarity on their biggest challenge, develop action steps to address that challenge, and to learn tools and strategies to process and tackle future challenges and opportunities.
Like many of you, these leaders have survived the transition to virtual church through the digitization of content. Now they have their sights set on catalyzing forward momentum (engagement) by mobilizing members to serve, creating personal connections, and facilitating growth.
In our quest to gain clarity on the present challenges and next steps, we used a few different exercises and frameworks to walk through critical areas such as:
- Understanding who the key stakeholders are (both the ‘impacted’ and ‘involved’) and how to best engage and serve them. A question I encouraged participants to wrestle with was, “How can we better understand the problem from their point of view?
- Mapping cascading problems related to each leader’s core challenge. We asked, “What insights emerge as we look at all the problem areas at once?”
- Plotting solutions on an Effort/Impact grid to identify easy wins and recognize the potential impact of longer-term projects. Where can we create early wins while developing lasting solutions?
In a time where so much can be done, and the load on church leaders is very high, it becomes increasingly essential to narrow the field of things to say “yes” to in order to focus on outcomes that will yield the most significant impact over time. I challenged our cohort to resist the urge to take on every possible problem, idea, or strategy that will emerge during our six weeks together. Instead, my counsel was to choose a few things to do well. And as they identified action steps for the coming weeks (and beyond), to ask:
- What needs to be done that only I can/should do?
- What can I equip others to do that will multiply our efforts and provide them with purpose?
- What things are already being done by others that may provide partnership opportunities?
One of the goals of the Lab is to help leaders look ahead to the future so that the learnings and innovations of this season help shape the coming ‘new normal.’ At this stage, these leaders are just beginning to articulate their questions about what’s next, such as:
- What does a new model for discipleship look like coming out of this season?
- How should we continue the growing edge of digital engagement when we can meet again?
- How do we measure the viability of emerging strategies for long-term growth and sustainability?
I am grateful for the opportunity to journey with these leaders over the next several weeks. As insights and learnings emerge, I will share those that might be of benefit to you. We plan to launch our next Virtual Strategy Lab soon. If you would like to be considered, click or tap on the button below to learn more and set up a discovery call.