Reverse Parking










“Wherever possible Reverse Park. Get into things in a way that you can easily get out of them”

I know that already many readers will be thinking that the above statement, one of my philosophies of leadership, flies in the face of established mantras of committment. For instance aren’t we supposed to prove our dedication to a cause by “burning our bridges” or show true faith by “buying the whole field”?

Life is full of the great and the small, the significant and the mundane, causes and circumstances. With regards to the loftier of each of these I would be the first to encourage people, after due diligence, to invest their lives heavily, lock, stock & barrel. However most of our day to day, week to week decisions are not regarding such great matters.

For the most part, church leaders spend their time determining tactics rather than strategies. Tactics should always be reverse parked; ready to be changed, improved, withdrawn at short notice in order that the strategy or cause or vision can be fulfilled. I have found the best way to deal with this to create an atmosphere where we try tactics. I often say to people, “let’s try this for a while” and perhaps months later, “let’s try this for a while longer”. If the project/person/plan isn’t working out then it’s easy to start the engine and pull-out of that space – because you reverse parked.

Perhaps your church has a vision to feed the hungry and the vision has really caught hold. Then give everything to this. Count it as a precious cause. When a member of your team suggests that you help the cause by setting up a couple of teams to run soup kitchens, you sense it could be a good solution. Then change your language; keep upbeat but talk about “giving it a go”, “trying it out” – reverse it into position.

Reverse parking ensures that your lofty matters don’t become inextricably linked with unproven remedies; strategies won’t be ruined by weak tactics; ¬†vision won’t be obstructed by temporary fixes.

Oh, and of course, reverse-parking works wonderfully with a vehicle too; especially if you think you may need a quick getaway.

Author Description


Russ leads New Life Scunthorpe. He is married to Sarah and they have two amazing boys Jordan and Joseph. Russ is committed to raising leaders who raise leaders. He believes that church should transform people and transform places and so he urges followers of Christ to turn up the contrast and believe in a Big God, build Big People & belong to a Big Church.

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