During a meeting of our church leaders, the facilitator, a corporate management expert, asked: â€œIn an ideal world where money was plentiful and anything you wanted could be obtained, how would you structure your department?â€ It was fascinating to watch the exercise unfold. After having been freed from the constraints of negativity, several great ideas emerged and we listed the amazing possibilities for each department.
The facilitator then drew our minds back to reality by ob- serving that we don\’t live in an ideal world. â€œLook now,â€ she continued, â€œat the lists and pick the five best ideas.â€ This was a tedious and difficult exercise. We had been to the mountaintop and seen the â€œPromised Landâ€ of vision in our minds, only to be jolted into sobriety. Finally, came the quintessential question: â€œWhat are your core values? What are the things that you cannot live operate or function without?â€
The entire exercise became life changing in that it not only compelled us to operate in a much more purposeful manner; it exposed the fact that we had been operating too much â€œon the flyâ€ without considering the purpose of each department.
At first, we recoiled at the thought that a corporate executive could contribute anything so meaningful to a church organization. Our thinking revealed a pervasive prejudice that runs rampant in the Body of Christ should consider: How many families actually have a vision? Family is a complex institution that handles money, owns real estate, manages credit lines, college funds and orchestrates all sorts of business transactions. Yet, many families handle their financial business without the benefit of a budget or any other sort of ordered system. We\’ve consulted couples that didn\’t even know their financial condition.
Although it is not the most fundamental component in family, having a financial direction for your family is essential. Here are some critical questions every family should ask and answer: What is the vision for your family? What is the mission of your family? How will you measure your family\’s success? How will you improve your family?
As with all things, determined action is the only sure way to change your circumstances. Wishful thinking or imitating others will not get the job done. If you are interested in making a difference, you must assess and act.
What do we do well as a family? What are the weakest areas of our family life? How solid or fragile is our financial situation? How attentive are we to the goals, aspirations and dreams of the individual members of our family? How well prepared are we to handle emergencies or profound challenges to our family? What are the values and activities we cannot live without? Are we living within or above our means? What life lessons are we teaching our children by our lifestyle?