Sometimes we have a retreat day as a term comes to an end to reflect on what God has done and seek his wisdom for the term ahead. Sometimes we find ourselves in February, five weeks into the new term, working off what comes our way! It’s easy, if you’re in that second camp, to feel like you’ve missed the boat for setting vision for the term, but it is never too late. Now, more than ever, we are in a season of constant listening, refining, pivoting, going and pausing. Now is a great time to pause and consider what we’re carrying and what we want to lean into in the weeks ahead, whether we’re just planning a few weeks at a time or have vision to look ahead further than that.
Here are 3 things we can consider when refreshing our vision for the ministry we are leading with students...
Who should help us set vision?
It can be easy to plow ahead in isolation, especially when working from home without as easy access to team time. Consider, who do you want to help set your vision for this coming time? What role do your student team or student leaders have in helping shape vision? Are there others you respect, within or outside of your local church, who can offer wisdom, space to process or a reviewing eye? Who will help you seek God’s wisdom?
How will you record your plan?
Deciding on what you want to see happen, thinking through the steps to getting there and actually outworking those things are three very different matters. This is especially pertinent in a season where we can often feel out of control and lose confidence in our plans. In this time, it will make even more of a difference writing your plans down! A clearly articulated vision is easier to invite others into, easier to keep on track and easier to review, adapt, critique and learn from as you go. Writing it down doesn’t make it inflexible, it makes it something you (and others) can meaningfully engage with.
What are you wanting to do this term? What are the next steps you need to take? Who is taking responsibility for each area? How will you review as the term goes on?
Check out this form which we’ve used in the past to help with this.
Who will hold you accountable?
Reviewing how things have gone is one of the hardest things to make time for, but one of the most fruitful things you can commit to as you work and grow as a leader. Having review in mind even as you make plans helps to sharpen them. You’re not just asking ‘what am I going to do?’ but also ‘how will I know if I’ve achieved my aim?’ and ‘what are my measures of success?’. These next level questions also help keep the ‘why’ at the forefront of your plans, making sure that they’re not just mindless figures or ideas (especially when those actual plans are prone to change just now!) but that you’re thinking of the fruit and outcome you’d love to see as well as just tasks that need to happen.
When will you review how the term is going/has gone? Who will you do this with?
May you know God close at hand as you pray, seek wisdom and make plans. As you do, may you grow in hope for what God is already doing and what he longs to see amongst students in these days.