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CHAPTER 3 (pages 51-72)
This chapter tells the story of how Willow turned vision into action.
It Takes More Than Another Pep Talk – Some leaders believe that if they just keep talking about the dream, the vision will automatically be accomplished. Getting-it-done leadership is entirely different. People need a step-by-step plan to move from vision to reality.
Refining Vision With a Strategic Plan – In the mid-nineties they decided at Willow to formally draft a strategic plan.
In refining the vision, they highlighted three key areas of emphasis for the next five years: evangelism, spiritual maturity of believers, and outreach (with focus on caring for the poor) .
Setting Goals With Balance In Mind – It is quite interesting that, for the first twenty years of Willow, they never had formalized specific goals. As Hybels worked with his leaders to refine the vision, he decided it was time for specific goals for each of the areas of emphasis. Clear goals would allow them to maintain the balance between all three.
The leadership circles at Willow prayed, wrestled and thought about which specific goals to set. Borrowing from Jim Collins’ book, Built to Last, they looked for goals that would be BHAGs: big, hairy, audacious goals, that humans could not accomplish without God’s supernatural activity.
Finding Champions – Hybels announced the numeric goals publicly. The leaders were anxious and challenged. Hybels realized he had to find “goal champions” – leaders willing to to lead out in achieving each of the goals. This created an atmosphere of renewed excitement and adventure!
In 1996, Hybels presented the refined vision to a very receptive congregation. There was great excitement! They started tracking progress. Many areas were growing, but not all. Though there was an energetic and dynamic environment, Bill Hybels asked himself, what more could they do?
One Thing Missing – He started feeling very uneasy. He persisted in asking questions and looking for answers to the uneasiness, even when it made others uncomfortable.
He discovered that his daughter had college friends that had felt very connected with the Student Impact ministries at Willow, but not with Willow itself. This was a revelation. He says, “Without my being consciously aware of it, Willow had evolved from a close-knit, single-identity, biblically functioning community into a decentralized, multi-identity, loosely connected federation of sub-ministries.”
How to rectify this? The executive leadership team now had the challenge of connecting every staff member directly to the strategic plan.
Church Basics: Alignment – So began the process of aligning the staff with the vision. Willow persisted in the alignment process, carrying out months of meetings to help everybody see that the church could not be a federation of sub-ministries. While many leaders were receptive, Hybels encountered difficulties with some.
It was most definitely a long, bumpy road. Eventually, Hybels felt he had to give the resistant members of staff an ultimatum of sorts. “I’m not asking for your begrudging participation in this alignment,” he told them. “It’s one-hundred-percent time. If you can’t give it, or won’t give it, it’s time for you to go.”
As Bill describes it, this was one of the most taxing leadership challenges they have ever experienced at Willow. But he has no regrets. Leaders from each department now present both their progress and their plans twice a year. Every staff member is a stakeholder in the overall vision.
A Modern Day Tragedy – Why is it that some people and some churches settle for having little or no impact in their communities? The great tragedy is that only a fraction of pastors worldwide are actually exercising their spiritual gift of leadership. The consequences of this neglect are far-reaching. The gift of leadership is the gift that catalyzes all others.
All leaders in the Kingdom should commit to fully developing their leadership potential. Leaders have to decide: will you simply give pep talks and dream, or will you manage for results?
Bill addressed this question at Harvard Business School, when he was challenged as to why a church would want to use best practice – shouldn’t they stick to “spiritual” matters? His answer? If we really believe the church is the hope of the world, then we must lead in such a way that there are results.
Was Jesus Laissez–Faire? (In other words, did he just sit back and not interfere?) No, not one bit. He was passionate about building his Father’s kingdom, and he expects church leaders to build prevailing churches. He promised to walk alongside each leader, empowering them. Hybels concludes, “It’s time for church leaders to really lead. It’s time for us to be about our Father’s business with diligence, dependence and get-it-done leadership.”
Chapter 4 at http://mauriciotinoco.com tomorrow