Leader to Leader

Looking Into the Future

January 9, 2017 | Posted by Randy Raasch

I often find that I can be consumed by the routine and the urgent. Each week I have a list of items that I need to address. I have classes to teach and sermons to write. Each week I email a devotion and prayer list to our membership, as well as a summary of last week’s worship and thoughts about the coming worship services. These things have become part of my routine.

Then there are those times that my routine is interrupted by things urgent. Emergencies at the hospital, families in conflict, a staff member who needs clarification on a project.

I really don’t have a problem handling emergencies or tending to a routine. The problem comes when we are so busy with the urgent and the routine that we allow ourselves little or no time to vision for the future. When this happens we become stale and our mission becomes stalled.

I have made it a requirement for my staff to spend one day each month visioning about the future of their area of responsibility. They are to take one day away from the building and dream. They are to consider ways in which their ministry can be more effective to the people of the congregation and how their mission can become more connecting with the people of the community.

I found that this is a lot harder than I imagined. When I ask my staff how their vision day went and what they did I have often heard, “I couldn’t find the time this month.” This is the point. It’s not about finding the time to vision, it’s about making the time to vision. It’s about making visioning a priority.

Whether we are leading a congregation, a school or a business, it is imperative to see the future. To see the future we must take time out in the present.

Randy Raasch
Randy Raasch has served as pastor of First Immanuel Lutheran Church of Cedarburg, Wisconsin for 27 years. He has been an adjunct professor of theology at Concordia University Wisconsin since 1990. His personal mission statement is, I serve God by serving others.