Summer vacation is an important tool for your health, as it gives you the opportunity to break away from your demanding schedule and recharge. It offers the rare opportunity to separate yourself from email and meetings and focus on the things that are most important to you.
What you gain at the beach or the lake is a sense of margin (an intentional pause for your mind)—something likely limited by your busy schedule. This pause is the fuel for your creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving.
When you give yourself time and space to think, you discover solutions to current problems or get clarity on a fresh vision, which creates a sense of deep excitement in your soul that you can’t wait to share with your staff. However, this excitement can become dangerous if it isn’t focused or intentional.
This scene is one that’s all too common in churches: you walk into your first staff meeting after vacation with a renewed sense of focus. You even want to start the meeting early to share the solutions you discovered while away.
But here is the problem: your staff dreads this day. They arrive to the meeting a little late and slightly weary. Anxiety lingers in the air as they wait for the meeting to begin.
Why do they feel this way? Because they know your vacation means new ideas, a new vision, or new strategies. In our excitement to share a breakthrough moment or God-given vision, we forget something incredibly important:
Our staff wasn’t on vacation with us.
They weren’t present while you read your Bible by the ocean. They didn’t read the thoughts and prayers you penned in your journal while overlooking a gentle mountain stream. And they weren’t present for your inner dialogue that led to your explosive excitement.
The thoughts and feelings that took seven days to develop in your own mind are unleashed on an unsuspecting staff in seven minutes. Instead of hearing how God worked in your heart, they hear how everything they’ve worked so hard on must change.
The danger for leaders is that this pattern persists after every vacation or holiday break. Eventually the staff identifies this pattern, and soon, distrust begins to creep in. Why bother working hard on something if everything changes after break?
What should you do? How should you approach the first staff meeting after vacation? Ideally, your energy and rejuvenated spirit is infectious, but realistically, the people around the table are clueless as to what’s about to happen.
To avoid chaos, confusion, and carnage, take time to intentionally prepare with these three steps:
1. Filter your new idea through elders or senior leadership
You may sense a deep level of conviction about your idea, but do others in your leadership team understand the value? Do they also see how pursuing this direction has the potential to provide greater kingdom impact? If not, then allow the idea to be set aside for a season. If it should be something your church does, then your leadership team will eventually buy in.
2. Lay the groundwork
New ideas can be a powerful way to drive vision forward, but that power lies in people being on board with the idea. Since your staff didn’t see your thought process during your time away, walk them through the way you landed on your idea. Provide some context as to why the decision is worth pursuing, and give them a chance to catch the vision.
3. Be willing to test small before going all in
If the staff is expected to immediately go all in on every new idea, then trust and respect will erode over time. Instead, think like a savvy business executive: Test new things in small batches. Then, scale success or change course after failure.
Remember, not every new thought or solved problem is necessary for your entire team. And not everything you discover during your time off should be the new main priority of your staff. Instead, look for the absolute best ideas. Cast vision slowly, and intentionally bring a lot of people along—your staff will soon become champions for the future.