Developing An Action Agenda

In order to develop and implement an action agenda that will carry out the objectives embodied in the work of the Laymen’s Movement the chosen head of the group must know how to interpret the program to laymen and motivate them to implement the task. He must see the broader picture of the work, i.e., how each man fits into it, where each man can contribute his best and under what conditions the men of the movement are most stimulated and inspired.

Dr. Jesse Jai McNeil states that in order to keep the work of the Movement active it is important for the leader to understand why men become members of an organization. He should recognize and remember that:

1.      Men generally join an organization because they have an interest in it.

2.      Men generally join an organization because they want to be identified with something that is going somewhere.

3.      Men generally join an organization because they want to be useful and to make some contributions to the promotion of its program.

4.      Men generally join an organization because they desire a channel through which they may express themselves.

5.      Men join an organization because they are conscious of their Christian duty as church members and their need of vital fellowship.

6.      Some men join an organization in an effort to discover what their real interest and special spiritual talents are.

There are less worthy reasons why some men seek membership in an organization. The leader wherever possible should recognize this in a man and help him on to higher and worthier motives of membership.

Leaders Must Press The Agenda Into Action

Certain basic principles of leadership should be applied to assist the group in implementing and action agenda. Basic principles include:

1.      The leader does things with the laymen, not for them.

2.      The leader does not carry on the work as if it were a one-man’s job.

3.      The leader does not carry on the work as though its success or failure depends solely on his efforts.

4.      The leader gives his laymen the opportunity and the right to make their own choices and to assume responsibility for them and to think through and to work out their own plans instead of telling them what to do.

5.      The leader recognizes the abilities of his laymen and uses them in a manner that will service the purpose of the group and that they themselves may make their best individual contributions.

Responsibility for the work to be done should be divided among the various laymen. The work of any given committee or department should be subdivided whenever it becomes too unwieldy for a single person to effectively handle. They should share whatever responsibilities are involved in the performance of specific tasks. The more minds that are active in planning and sharing responsibilities for their successful performance, the more likely the success. The leader should be democratic rather than coercive in his dealings with his laymen so they may feel that what they are doing is being done willingly because they have decided as a group to do it.

To keep the movement alive and functioning the organization’s leaders need to consider needs and interests represented by their responsibilities. How to get one’s program to function better? What developments are taking place in men’s work in the church? What similar local men’s church and community groups are doing? How can the men’s work program be more closely related to the total program of the church? What further preparation the officers themselves need to carry on a more effective program and what specific methods, techniques and strategies are needed to inspire the organization to fulfill and promote active participation as well as effectively implement the objectives of the group?

These are pertinent questions the Leader of the Movement and all other officers leading the organization should consider in maintaining the interest, vision, inspiration and challenge needed to keep the work going. Of course the needs of each local congregation are varied and will differ accordingly. So action agendas should reflect needs and interests of individual localities.

An assessment of the action agenda should be made periodically so that the Movement addresses present problems, needs and interest of the local organization and surrounding community that the Movement is working in. The assessment should include updating and setting new priorities within the Area of Work committees that are the heart and beat of the Movement. Leaders must not forget that frequently planned and implemented programs of meaningful, essential and spirit filled activities will sustain interest.