It’s All About the Follow Through

Why invest in a program or consultation that will end up collecting dust on a shelf? Invest in a coach to help your congregation accomplish its goals and move into the future God has for you.

The leaders of Trinity Church were excited about participating in the latest church growth strategy offered by their denomination. They had tried other programs before but this one was different. This one would be the program to transform their ministry and grow their membership.

For six months they worked tirelessly to promote full participation by all their members. They followed every program strategy and worked closely with their denominational consultant. At the end of the process, they were handed a beautifully packaged report filled with qualitative and quantitative data and reasonable and exciting recommendations.

With the report in hand, the church board voted to accept the recommendations and put a committee in place to oversee their implementation. They sent a letter of thanks to the denominational consultant, who wished them well and offered to give them further advice should they need it.

Fast forward six months. The members of the implementation committee are frustrated and tired. They complain that they do not have enough direction and help to do the work they have been given. They lost one of their most energetic members when her family moved. Others are talking about stepping down because they have too many other obligations. The report sits on a shelf in the pastor’s study collecting dust.

What went wrong? The denominational program energized the congregation. The recommendations that came from the program seemed realistic and attainable. The board was fully committed. And yet the program never got off the ground.

Unfortunately, this scenario happens in too many organizations. It is not that the programs and consultants are not helpful. Instead, they are incomplete. Once the program is over and the consultant has departed, the already busy congregation is expected to implement the recommendations. Without someone to assist them and keep them accountable, they can too easily get stalled and frustrated, or simply lose interest and motivation. As a result, congregation members get angry with the board for doing nothing with a program for which they spent a lot of time and money, and the board feels disenfranchised and incompetent.

Having excellent recommendations for change is useful only if they are implemented. People need to not only envision the organization’s goals, but they also need to see movement toward those goals. Marshall Goldsmith writes, “We don’t just need specific targets; we need to see ourselves nearing … the target. Anything less is frustrating and dispiriting. … Progress makes any of our accomplishments more meaningful.” (Triggers, p. 112)

The key to making the most of any program or consultation is FOLLOW THROUGH. The best way to ensure follow through is to retain a coach to work with your implementation team. A professional coach skillfully guides an organization to accomplish its goals. They offer the team direction, encouragement, resources, and accountability. Coaching is action-oriented, which means the coach’s goal is to help the team overcome obstacles to reaching their desired outcomes in a timely manner.

Contact me for a free consultation to learn how I can assist your congregation.

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