Country Compass Sample Chapter

The Country Compass

Table of Contents

How to Use This Book
Part One: Establish Your Coordinates
•    Mile Marker 1 – Prepare for Departure
•    Mile Marker 2 – Too Much Weight for the Trip
•    Mile Marker 3 – What Supplies Do You Carry? 
•    Mile Marker 4 – Where Are We Going? 
Part Two: Chart the Course
•    Mile Marker 5 – What Does the Map Say?
•    Mile Marker 6 – We’re Hungry
•    Mile Marker 7 – What Time is it?
•    Mile Marker 8 – Do We Have Enough Fuel? 
Part Three: Start Moving
•    Mile Marker 9 – Engine Trouble
•    Mile Marker 10 – Prepping Passengers
•    Mile Marker 11 – Are We There Yet?
•    Mile Marker 12 – We Need More Drivers



Community or Camp – a geographic area or affinity focus
Compass – an instrument for showing the north or direction.
Driver – a leader or emerging leader

Destination – the outcome or end result of an act,
service, project, mission, event or goal.
Mile Marker – indicators of trip progression

Passengers – volunteers, staff or any engaged support

Road Signs – wise saying and quotes from King    Solomon
Dash Board – an affirmation or spiritually based declaration accelerating the truth
Service – activity related to the community outcome

Trip or Travel – the process of implementing the act, service, project, mission, event or goal.
Vehicle – a group of drivers and passengers working together for the good or development of a   
community or camp.

Mile Marker 5 – What Does the Map Say?

One year I was on my way back to college in Alabama.  The trip from Minnesota took about 19 - 20 hours by car.  A classmate on break traveled back with me.  She told me she’d never taken a long trip like this before, but assured me she would be a great asset on the journey.

I had been driving about eight hours and asked her to take the wheel so I could get a little sleep.  I showed her the map and said “watch for the signs, stay on the main highway, and wake me up in a few hours.” (famous last words)

Abruptly I was awakened by the sound of tires running over a railroad track. I thought to myself, there wasn’t a railroad track on this road. Startled I ask where are we?  She exclaims “I don’t know, but I stayed on the main highway like you said.”

After checking then rechecking the map, I discovered we literally had traveled three hours in the opposite direction.  She later admits she didn’t know how to read a map and had never traveled or taken a long trip on the highway.

As I steamed up the windows from the heat coming off my forehead I reexamined my expectations for extra drivers and travel companions in the future.

In community, ministry or business development, when asked, "What do we see?” we often speak or talk about what we wish or want to see.  We envision the dream versus the reality of what is truly there.  Denial of the actual is like pretending you don’t have a problem.  In the earlier chapters we identified where we wanted to go, and what gifts and resources we had.  Now we need to determine what may be obstacles impeding a clear vision and your progress.

It is at this point of reviewing the map that you are able to position yourselves for travel changes, refinement, and pruning.  Let’s look at three ways:

1.    Create an environment of confidentiality and trust.  I don’t know why my friend didn’t wake me up once we were lost.  Maybe she didn’t know we were lost or maybe she was afraid of what I’d say once I found out.

Working with a team of people effectively requires a culture of confidentiality and trust.  The driver and passengers should respect and earnestly depend on one  another for the purpose of mission success.  When trust is absent from your corporate culture you create blind spots with the potential of accidents.

Those involved in this process should be mature, vested in the community, mission, transparent, and focused on your designed purpose.

2.    Be completely honest.  Pretending you don’t have a problem creates a mess.  Clearly identify the problems and challenges you are having, and then highlight your successes for encouragement.  Honesty can be painful or cost you something at times.  In this case, if my friend had told me we were lost, it would have cost me sound sleep.  But your inability to tell the truth about your challenges will either cost you on the front or back end. 

Decide to model and expect honest feedback from those in your vehicle.  This will reduce errors and mistakes in the future along with saving many broken relationships.

3.    Ask for help.  A paved road is the preferred terrain but more realistically you will face unusual road conditions.  Let’s review road types you may not expect as it relates to community projects or growth:

Detours – can be simple and short or can take you miles out of the way.  Getting side tracked in your service may happen a number of ways.  It may be the only driver or key passengers become ill or your primary fuel or funding source runs out.

Less traveled – the vision you desire to implement may be a completely new or unique idea.  It may be difficult to find other organizations doing the same thing.  You will have to thoroughly trust your passengers and their instincts since additional vehicles on this road may be few and far between.

Dirt roads – I believe a dirt road in your development will impact your speed.  It most likely will take you much longer to cover the same amount of ground compared to paved road travel.  This may be caused by an information gap, limited marketing and communications plan or poor technology.

Bumpy roads – typically impacts your comfort.  This could be caused by damaged business relationships, broken commitments or inconsistence in financial resourcing.  These roads slow you down or can make the driver and passengers sick.  If the vehicle is unable to get back on better terrain, it could cause the vehicle to stop completely or force the passengers to exit.

Steep roads – is what I call “next to walking.”  Steep roads require an extreme amount of effort on the vehicle and with limited traction or progress.  This could be paralleled to high turnover in passengers/staffing, lack of motivation and driver fatigue.  Steep roads are very frustrating and can kill an engine quickly if not careful.   

Catch a ride – some people may remember when “hitch hiking” was popular.  This was a time when people waited on the side of the road for someone going in their direction to give them a ride. 

If you are not in a vehicle, catch a ride.  Clearly there are a number of community and business ideas looking for additional passengers to assist with moving their vehicle forward.

I’ve met a number of drivers that considered asking for help a sign of failure.  But this approach is deconstructive and produces an unhealthy environment for your vehicle.  Asking for help is critically important. 

You can make getting assistance a way to strengthen your mission, resources and people. Assets   are found through insight, those around the table, and unlimited outside expertise.  Use humility and wisdom - just ask.

When charting your course you use the map as a guide for direction.  If you have gotten off track or off the main road “MapQuest” may not be available. In this case you would use your compass the same as the map to help you assess where you are, adjust your steps or abort the current plan for a new course of action.  

As you begin to bring clarity to where you are, you should earnestly believe you have courage and strength as you develop and correct.  You are encouraged to travel in truth and trust the good work started within you, will be completed.


All participate: 

1.    Make a list of five things you believe are not functioning as originally envisioned or facing difficult roads. 
a. _____________________________________________  

b. _____________________________________________ 

c. _____________________________________________  

d. _____________________________________________

e. _____________________________________________

2.    Select two of the items listed and discuss openly the problems and successes.

3.    Discuss and consider solutions for each item using the Challenge to Solution process outlined below.

Challenge      _____________________________________

Option(s)    Assess, Abort or Adjust (see example below)



Consequence(s)    _____________________________________

Possible Solution(s)    __________________________________

1.    Community leaders identified little participation in their after school tutorial program.  They began to consider the following options: assess, abort or adjust.  As the leaders assessed the skill set within their team, they found 15% of their constituents had skills or interest in the area of mechanics.  So they adjusted the mission focus to auto repair support for single mothers with a tutorial component for their children.

2.    A monthly parenting class was started after an elderly woman recognized the need.  Soon after significant promotion and prodding, participation dwindled and the class was aborted.  Later team members discovered a similar class was being held at a neighboring synagogue that included a light meal.


1.    Choose another of your own business or program challenges. 

2.    During the following week work through the Challenge to Solution process.  (Consider others involved to solicit input and objectivity.)

3.    Next meeting – build in extra time to review solutions discovered.  Encourage feedback from passengers or peers for modifications.


•    Create several ways to communicate changes in your organization, physically and mentally, i.e. eblast,  announcements, facebook, bulletin boards, flyers, online tools or visual art presentations etc.

Engage those directly associated with areas of change for proper perspective and
ownership of the proposed change.

•    Survey drivers and support staff for an evaluation and “buy in” while measuring success during and after the process.

Road Sign
Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.

Dash Board
We/I need help embracing the needed change in our organization.  Grant us the knowledge and wisdom necessary to identify and prepare for implementation.  I am thankful in advance for those who will agree with us as we improve, modify, and/or abandon for purposeful service.

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