4 Steps >> Confusion to Clarity

Confused about the next steps for your ministry? Spring is the season for many ministry leaders to put on their future-thinking hat and plan for the coming program year. Others are facing choices on some big opportunities – possibilities that will grow their ministry; expand impact. They wonder if they are ready and what it takes to get ready. Along comes some funding challenges or changes in the needs of the people you serve. Even the slightest shift can require revamping a program or doing things in a different way.

And the thoughts start circling, confusion sets in. It’s time to sort that out and decide the best path or forge a new path. I want to share with you 4 steps that will move you forward »» from confusion to clarity!

Pause and take a step back

When people rely on you it can be overwhelming. They are looking to you to decide, give direction. You are expected to know the path. Sometimes you will, sometimes you won’t. To give yourself the best chance – step back. Schedule your thinking time. Maybe you think best if you go for a run. Listen to worship music or meditate on scripture. Maybe you need to get out of the office – go to a coffee shop and just think!

Get it out of your head — pen it!

Take all those circling thoughts and put them on paper. Or, grab your computer and brain dump into a word document. Maybe you like post-it’s on the wall or a white board full of diagrams and words. Whatever it takes to get all those thoughts out – just do it!

What’s the BEST of all the things?

Take a step back and look at all you wrote. What are the themes you notice? What is a quick win that could move the ministry forward? What is God leading you to? What is your heart drawn to? If it helps to prioritize your list, do it! Sort through it all with an eye on what will be best for the forward momentum of the ministry.

Get outside perspective from a mentor, your team or a coach

Maybe you are still confused or maybe you need confirmation to how you are discerning the direction of the ministry. It is wise to involve the perspective of others. The people who will be affected the most – your team, your board. Or a mentor who has been there and done that! A colleague or a coach who can facilitate dialogue and ask you some questions that will help deepen your perspective.

Proverbs 24:6 – “with many astute advisers you’ll see the path to victory more clearly.”

Still confused or stuck? Got more questions? Give me a call. I would be happy to talk it through and devise a strategy for moving forward. If you have strategies that work for you to move from confusion to clarity — shout them out! I would love to hear about it.


Annie Perdue Olson

Annie is founder of Leading Better Together, guiding leaders through the relationship and people challenges that sidetrack ministry. With 20+ years of experience in nonprofit management and pastoral ministry she equips people and teams to work better together. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources and Change Leadership from St. Thomas University and received her coaching certification from the Center for Coaching Excellence.

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