By Todd Adkins
As a church leader, you can’t leave “good enough” alone in ministry. God’s hope for the world is the local church. There is no Plan B. To help you assess your plans and hone in what you’ve implemented, I’m going to discuss a framework for concentric alignment. Using this tool over and over again will ensure your ministry stays on track.
John Boyd was a World War II military strategist who said that during dogfights between fighter pilots, each pilot went through these four decision phases. Whoever did them quicker was the one that won out. Most of us aren’t locked in a life or death struggle while leading through a crisis, but these four phases are helpful in agile decision making to help us move forward with clarity and purpose.1
- Observe: First, we look at our present reality. What is going on around us? What is the situation?
- Orient: Next, we develop a present theory. What do we need to orient to or adapt to what is going on? How do you need to change in light of your current reality?
- Decide: Now we are looking at future theory. What do you have identified as an opportunity for change? What can you decide on that will actually help you move forward?
- Act: Finally, we move toward future reality. How can you see it through to completion? What will you do to observe the results?
Again, this assessment is one that is never truly done because one decision leads to another, especially in a time of rapid change. This framework is a concentric adaption loop, not a linear diagram. We are going to ignore the inertia of success, because you will continually evaluate the situation and improve your system and alignment of resources, which ultimately improves your leadership. The quicker you are at making solid decisions that align with the directions that you have set, the better leader you will be in the seasons to come.
To help your church move toward a new normal in response to COVID-19, Ministry Grid has created a free course, which includes this ongoing ministry alignment exercise. This course will help your team to establish clarity in the midst of chaos, think through who you’re serving, create financial and ministry contingency plans, shift focus and resource the right things, and emerge from this season stronger than before.
- Chet Richards, Certain to Win: The Strategy of John Boyd, Applied to Business (Bloomington, IN: Xlibris, 2004).