An exit strategy is a means of leaving one’s current situation, either after a predetermined objective has been achieved. In recent war history, it was viewed as a failure to not have a plan of getting out of something after we have gotten into it.
It has been something that I have been thinking about… a lot. Not in the “Hey, everyone, the position in Baltimore is about to be open” sort of way (so… please re-file those resumes)
But, how do we move onto the next thing? For examples….
> Has this blog worn out its welcome / usefulness within the field? Has my life changed enough in the past years where it has become less enthusiasm/ side-hobby and more obligation? How do I walk away from it or what re-purpose will it assume?
> Over the past years, the office has significantly changed, roles evolved, partners moved? What is next?
What does the field need us to be (need, not necessarily want)? Based on what we have learned over the years, what do I want us to be? (want, not necessarily need)?
and, in a juxtaposition of the above…
> Over the past years, I’ve had more that one youth ministry friends ask as to how you “make it” in the greater profession and I have always suggested finding one’s niche – one’s focused, targetable portion (subset) of the field. I’ve been blessed to have a few:
>> Adolescent Sexuality – This is a direction that started for me in Iowa and brought me to Baltimore. There was service in support of the True Love Waits movement and culminated in Created to Love.
>> Adolescent Catechesis- The was a direction that started at the NFCYM and compelled me to go more local with it in Baltimore. Others moved the direction over the goal line nationally, but from the starting point (look for August 2, 2005) there are some definite markers along the way in the Premier See.
>> Technology in Youth Ministry – I grew in this interest all along – from teching up a clip arty slide show before power point in 1983 to building the ArchBalt webpages in the late ‘90’s to setting up this tour of the states originally for the NFCYM to to blogging before facebook was introduced, being an early adapter for blogging, podacasting, and slidesharing, to providing national training and co-authoring oft-emulated guidelines regarding ministry and technology
But, what’s next? Short-term and long-term? Professionally and personally? Without a sense of the exit strategy, there will only be a greater opportunity for malaise or boredom, restlessness or frustration, faux arrogance or impotent ineffectiveness.
So, I’ve been working that out… Not sharing it on-line, but working that out. How ‘bout you? Got an exit strategy? Do you know what is next for you?