The 3 Realities


I am a big believer in everything that we do should be thought through and analysed before and after. There is a tendency to think because we are dealing with community, it should be strictly organic. Relationships happen organically, so the ministry that organizes those should happen organically as well.

The problem is, without good systems and plans those relationships will never have the opportunity to form. The Second Law Of Thermodynamics is  the inevitable disintegration of order into disorder. In other words, if something is left alone, it will eventually end up in chaos. That pretty much sums up a lot of small group systems.

Whenever I am designing a system or an event, I use a framework that I learned through working with Leadership Network – the 3 realities: What Was, What Is & What Will Be.

  1. What Was. This is where we can have a tendency to get stuck, but we have to spend some time here to get to the next stage. George Santayana said, ” Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. What is the foundation for what you are attempting to build? If we rush into a new system without considering what it is replacing, it will eventually fail. Spend some time in planning thinking about what has been done before, but don’t stay in this stage too long.
  2. What Is. This is your current reality. Take some time at this stage to do a SWOT analysis of your current systems and events. What is working and what is not? What should you stop doing and what should you start? Make sure that you have the lastest facts as you spend time in this stage. It is really difficult to analyse when you don’t know the current reality. Do some research and find out what the numbers are. It may be painful, but it’s necessary before you can move to the next reality.
  3. What Will Be. This is the fun part. Dream about what the possibilities are, and then set SMART goals for achieving them. I would suggest that you work in 6 month segments. Ministry changes too fast to have hard plans much beyond that. Goals become irrelevant when the playing field shifts. At the end of this process, determine the one goal that you have to achieve in the next 6 month or everything else will be a failure. In the military this is referred to as the Commanders Intent. A concise expression of the purpose of the operation and the desired end. How can the next 6 months be summed up and what is the desired final result?

About Chris Surratt

Chris Surratt is a ministry consultant and coach with over twenty-three years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and Seacoast Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He is also the Discipleship and Small Group Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources. Chris's first book, Small Groups For The Rest Of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups System to Reach the Fringes, was just released by Thomas Nelson.

Posted on February 26, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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