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Keeping the Big Picture in Mind

Description

To get the big picture, write an executive summary.

A couple of years ago, the Executive Director-Treasurer of our convention asked each of our departments to design a one-page executive summary of our department’s work. First, he wanted us to define our work biblically. We redefined our purpose statement and isolated three core values. Second, he asked us to define our work practically. We chose four work parameters that reflect the philosophy of our department’s work. We listed the specific areas of our work, all 16 of them! Third, he asked us to define our work futuristically. We considered current trends on the state of the church and our convention. We shared our plans for future ministry regardless of the trends and then offered possible shifts that might be necessary because of those trends.

Why am I telling you this? When our executive director made this request, we were beginning to feel the pinch of the economic downturn. None of us knew what our convention would look like, nationally or locally. But this was one of the best things I have done in any position I have held. It forced me to see the big picture of our work. It forced us to rethink why we exist as the Pastor/Leadership Development Department. If we had to reduce ministries or personnel, what would we cut? What would we never cut? It forced us to consider what is absolutely necessary to our department’s work and what could be done on a rotating basis or not at all. I revised this document six or seven times. Our team pored over the words and concepts to reduce the content to one page without sacrificing content or clarity.

Since we wrote this executive summary, we have used it in several ways. We give copies to our convention board committee so they better understand our work. I think about it when I am asked to do something that I might enjoy but would drain energy and creativity from my prime focus. When we present the work of our department we are better able to concisely state who we and what do. To get the big picture, write an executive summary.


Written by Dr. Alan Woodward

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