Diagnostic Questions

Posted by Jeff Iorg on

Churches and ministry organizations have been significantly impacted by the global pandemic. For some, their primary response is longing for things to “get back to normal.” News flash! That’s not happening. You are never going back to former operational practices, to the old normal. You are headed to a new normal. The only choice is whether you allow it to happen to you or you proactively shape a preferred future.

People working at deskOne way to facilitate thinking and planning for the future is using diagnostic questions to stimulate discussion and guide decision-making. The following diagnostic questions will help you do that. You can use these questions in two ways. First, reflect on them privately. Pray, think, and write your ideas as you observe your organization and discern ways it has been impacted by the pandemic. Second, discuss these questions with your leadership team. Ask each person to work on them privately (as you have done), and then discuss them together. The results will provide a framework for organizational planning and help you shape a preferred future.

Here are the questions (with some options to tailor them) to use in your church or organization as you plan for the post-pandemic future.

  1. What have we stopped doing that does not need to come back?
  2. What have we started doing that we need to continue in the future?
  3. How has our internal culture changed? How can we mitigate the negatives and accentuate the positives of those changes?
  4. How has our community (or mission field or market) changed? How will we adjust our methods accordingly? 

The future belongs to people who accept current realities and intentionally choose behaviors directed toward desired outcomes. Intentionality is a key step, but not a guarantee of future success. We all make wrong assumptions and launch flawed initiatives. But correcting those miscalculations as we go is still a better way forward than passively waiting for whatever develops.

Leaders anticipate the future. While much has changed in 2020, our responsibility as leaders has not changed. We are still expected to chart the course forward, no matter how uncertain or perilous it may seem. As you plan for 2021, use these diagnostic questions (or a better set you create) to stimulate your creativity and engage your team.

The future will be shaped by leaders willing to bushwhack through the tangled mess that has been 2020 toward a more productive future next year. Now is the time to lead!


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