Thursday, March 30, 2017

Using the 4Ls, Part 10 – Back up the Spiral

As I have done the past few weeks, you can find each link to the posts of this series at the conclusion of this current post.

As I constructed the thought process for this series of blog posts, I realized that I had to make a decision. As I began to think about this blog post, that decision came back to the forefront. Do I focus on how each of the Steps (the 4Ls) intersect with each letter of my Strategy and then each component of my Mission? Or do I lump my Strategy into one post and my Mission into a single post as well? The blogosphere is not the place for a series of thirty highly-interrelated posts, but there are always contrarians. And while I am not true contrarian, I have a little of that blood in me. However, because this series of posts is meant to be helpful, I have concluded that a more thorough examination of each of the components of my Strategy (LEARN) and Mission are in order. As I have mentioned the last couple of weeks, I am doing this from my perspective, and while I believe the 4L Model of Discipleship can work for anyone, how each “L” applies to any one individual must be determined in light of each person’s vision, mission, and strategy. Thus, by my elaborating on the individual pieces, my aim is to help others make the necessary adaptations to use the 4L Model in a practical way suited for them.

But the individual pieces must wait until next week. First, I remind us that this series started by taking a birds-eye view of the 4L’s by starting with my Vision, then moving a little closer to Mission, then closer yet to Strategy before looking at the 4L’s collectively (Steps), and then individually. Now, it is time to move back “up” and see how the Steps directly impact the Strategy, then Mission, then Vision. Again, this means I have several more posts in this series, but if my effort helps anyone to be more purposeful in their approach to living for Jesus, then it is more than worth my effort.

So, how do the Steps impact my Strategy? As I mentioned in the post about Strategy earlier, the Steps are what makes the Strategy work. Think of it this way. Suppose you are having guests over for dinner. You (this could be a plural you) have decided to make a nice meal to serve. You now have a goal. You then begin to plan what is necessary to meet the goal (your strategy). What will be served? When? What ingredients are needed? Etc. Then you begin to map out the details (your steps). First, you must find a recipe, then make a list, then go to the store, prepare the meal, set the table, etc. We perform this kind of process all the time although we rarely consider how many decisions we make to complete routine tasks. (Consider, for instance, stopping for coffee on the way to work (goal). If you know this the night before it impacts the time you might set an alarm, what route you drive, etc. All part of a strategy and steps so you can meet the goal of having coffee.)

The challenge is that most people live much of life without being intentional. Even though the decision to get coffee might require twenty or more small decisions, if you have done it before, you barely stop to think about it. Quick thought: which shoe did you put on first today? Why? (The answer is, unless you have an injury which impedes you putting on a shoe, you don’t think about this at all. Of course, this is not a big deal, but how much we live of our lives without thinking, can be a very big deal.)

So, the steps we take are designed to lead us somewhere – in both a literal and figurative sense. But do you know where you are going? That is why it is important to have a strategy before you develop the steps to implement the strategy. But once you have developed the steps, they should be utilized in incorporating your strategy into your life.

Next week, I will begin sharing how the 4Ls do affect my Strategy which, you may recall, consists of the acrostic L-E-A-R-N. No doubt you will notice some overlap, but that is good – it reinforces certain aspects of both my strategy and steps, and also means I have less to remember overall. I look forward to sharing these thoughts as we move back up the spiral as this series is reminding me, and hopefully encouraging you, of why it is to be diligent in living our lives with intentionality – for ourselves and for God.

Prior Posts:
4L – Matthew 4.19 –
4L – Matthew 28.19 –
4L – Spiral –
4L – Vision –
4L – Mission –
4L – Strategy –
4L – Steps –
4L – Learn –
4L – Live –
4L – Love –
4L – Lead –

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