On A Napkin
By Bill Egan, Director of Church Planting
I have had the privilege of working with some amazing church planting strategists over the past two decades. One of the most fulfilling aspects is watching their strategies come together. It most often starts very simple and quickly develops into a complete multi-year vision for how they plan to accomplish this task. Comprehensive strategies can be extremely helpful in moving the work forward. It can also be overwhelming in the short term as a church planter realizes their strategy is not moving forward as quickly and smoothly as anticipated.
Strategies such as Training for Trainers(aka T4T) come to mind. While church planting extensively in South Asia I carried my 7 pages outlive of the training on the inside cover of my Bible. I was completely mobile and ready to jump at any opportunity to train anywhere, anytime, anyplace.
Over the years this strategy had become very popular. The demand for training and insights as to how and why it has been so successful produced a very detailed book. To my amazement, what began as a simple 7-page strategy, or what I like to call ”Napkin Strategy” turned into a 210 page document. While I think the 210 pages are very helpful for those learning about church planting, I miss my strategy on a napkin. My 7 pages were intended for practitioners, not necessarily students. Most often we only have a few minutes to cast vision and share our strategy with others, so learn to always be prepared to share it on a napkin.
As you continue working on long-term detailed strategic plans, don’t overlook the value of having your “Napkin Strategy” as well. This will keep you focused on the main-things that need to be accomplished now. It will also be of great value when someone asks you about your strategy. Instead of handing them a detailed document that they most likely will not read, pull out a napkin and explain your simple version for them. Its amazing how this can impact others while casting vision.
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.