The Horizon of Possibility at Work

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Last week we hosted our Summer Camp alternative. At the beginning of June I got word the camp we were going to attend had cancelled, so we started making plans for an alternative. Instead of trying to find a place to go, we decided to try to bring camp to us.

Enter one of my favorite concepts, the Horizon of Possibility.

I was fortunate enough to have a team to help brainstorm and plan the week, and so we set out to make it the best we could. Taking tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way, we took some of the best *scheduled elements of camp (I would happily argue the benefit of camp comes in the unscheduled elements–conversations in the down times specifically) and put them into a day camp format.

We did 3pm to 10pm each day for four days.

We had a good mix of Bible study, rec and celebration, small groups, worship, and a fun activity to end each day.

The best part of the week, however, was watching the responses. The first day was rough, as the first day of camp generally is. But we hit our stride on the second day. Then, the conversations started. We started to hear “this really feels like camp”.

My favorite part may have been on the final day as I taught the Horizon of Possibility to the students who were in our leadership track. When I asked them what their expectations for the week were, they admitted they were low. And rightly so. We weren’t going to camp. It was an adjustment.

But that’s where the Horizon of Possibility enters. As a leader, I was able to look at the horizon and see what was possible. I knew we could never replace camp, but I had a hunch we could create something that would not only be a great event, but it would help fulfill our mission and purpose.

As the leader I was the first one to see the possibility. The challenge from there was including others in the movement forward and pulling it off.

As leaders, we have to be willing to look ahead and examine the horizon. What’s possible? What might could be? What’s holding us back? What are we waiting for?

What possibility are you seeing on the horizon now that no one else can see? What are you willing to do to accomplish it? Who are you going to bring in to help you accomplish it? Take a step today.

3 Questions to Help Your Focus

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What does the future look like when you can’t even make sense of the present?

Welcome to ministry and leadership development in the age of COVID. Regardless of our personal thoughts about COVID, things have changed. As a leader, I’m trying to navigate the ups and downs while at the same time keeping an eye on the horizon. It’s not enough to do what I’m doing now, I want to take steps today that set me up for success tomorrow.

That brings me back to one of my favorite thoughts: the horizon of possibility.

As a leader, I feel like part of my responsibility is to cast the vision for what might could be, not just what is. I want the people I lead, whether students or adults, to know that we are moving forward with purpose. And that doesn’t happen if I don’t spend time thinking about the horizon of possibility.

The bottom line is this: as a leader, few people are as concerned about the long term outcome of what you’re leading as you are. So the question naturally arises: are you concerned about the direction you’re heading? Are you concerned enough to do something about it?

Spend some time today thinking about the Horizon of Possibility for your situation. It doesn’t have to be a long and drawn out process, but simply ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. Knowing what I know today, where do I want us to be in six months?
  2. If we need to be there in six months, what’s the first step I can move towards today to help us get there?
  3. Who needs to be reminded about our direction? Who needs to hear the passion in my voice as we take the first step?

Exercise your leadership influence today and bring someone along for the journey as you move forward.

Cast the Vision, not the path

Cast the Vision, Not the Path

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So much of leadership is about casting vision. Looking at what is and painting a picture of what could be.

So much of developing student leaders is helping them catch the vision so they can cast it down the road.

Some students will naturally respond to opportunities, almost instinctively seeing the possibilities before them and pursuing them. Others, however, face a bigger hill to climb.

So, how do you handle a student wrestling with the goal? Continue to cast the vision.

In my current ministry, I see a few things that need addressing and am trying to raise student leaders who see the need and meet the need. But my goal is to cast the vision, not the path.

If I spell out every step a student should take, I’m not teaching them to lead. I’m teaching them to take the steps I’m telling them to take. That would be akin to the parent in the stands of a game shouting every action their kid should make. If the voice stops, the child does too, thus missing the point.

Sure, I can tell a student every step to take to reach the vision, and I may set out a few stepping stones, but if a student leader never has to think or wrestle, then am I raising a student leader or a robot?

The beauty of developing leaders is that everyone takes a different approach. Why would I want someone to execute things the way I would do it, when I might could learn something from their way?

As you work with student leaders, or even adult leaders, work to develop them. Empower them to look for and meet needs. Train them to make an impact. The process may be messy, but the end result is worth it.

Flashback Friday #5

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One concept I’ve written about captures my mind almost more than all the others, and it’s today’s flashback.

The Horizon of Possibility is something I love thinking about, and something I use constantly. This week, in fact, the concept has been used in at least two conversations, and I love it!

Before I dive too deep, click here and check it out!

3 Tips to Pick Your Spots

3 Tips to Help Pick Your Spots

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Pick your spots.

And so went my advice to a friend about a situation they found themselves facing.

Sometimes the temptation we, as leaders, face is to try to generate sweeping changes all at one time, when in reality the most effective change happens when we pick our spots.

If you face a situation and see ten different things that need addressing, here are three tips to help you narrow down your list and more effectively pick your spots.

  1. Clarify – Sure, you may be full of great ideas. I mean, truly, how many of us ever think to ourselves that our next great idea is a dud? But the person standing on the street corner yelling about ten different things doesn’t garner an audience. But, when you can narrow your focus, your message carries more weight. This bears itself out in preaching, too. A message with one solid point has a better chance of inspiring change than a message with one great point surrounded by two mediocre ones. Clarity pays.
  2. Prioritize – If you only had the relational capital to influence one change on your list of ten, which would it be? Start there. Then, after that one, consider moving on to the next. I’ve been playing a lot darts on my phone against my wife (#millenials). I do better when I have a specific spot I’m aiming to hit.
  3. Move with Humility – Be careful not to sit on your hands and think you don’t have influence. When you approach a situation with humility, then you have a better chance of affecting change. Sure you can barrel through your list and bully people into your way, but you’re the only person that wins. And when you’re the only person who wins, nobody wins.

As simple as this may sound, the reality is so often lasting change happens bit by bit. Take a minute to look around today and pick your spots. Clarify, prioritize, and move with humility. You may just be surprised at what you can accomplish.

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