August 20, 2019
“Ready, Fire, Aim?”
“Ready, Fire, Aim. A slang term for the practice of putting a product on the market before it is ready. This is done either to impress investors or to meet an unrealistic deadline set by management. Sometimes, it is accompanied by a promise to fix the product later. (How many times have we seen this happen with the sale of a new, improved cell phone? Overheating batteries, melting cases, and screens not working properly.”
Above, you see the definition for the phrase, ready, fire, aim, from a corporate business perspective. I have found over the years, the phrase, ready, fire, aim is also a part of our culture. Sometimes when used, it has a direct relation to the failure of not planning for situations, events, presentations, work, etc. Other times, if used properly, a ready, fire, aim, attitude can get the ball rolling quickly and allow you to move on with a project swiftly because you’re willing to take a chance and dive into a situation. And, sometimes that’ exactly what we need to do in life and that’s precisely what Jesus did too.
In the introduction of my book, “Adventures in Youth Ministry,” I wrote the following about being a ready, fire, aim person:
“I have long been a person who has been accused of having a ready, fire, and aim mentality. I don’t like to get caught up in a lot of meetings and endless discussions. I believe in thinking outside the proverbial box. If you get an idea, try it out, and then look at the results, or as I like to say, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission sometimes.” Much of what you’ll be reading came from this type of process.”
I have always felt, that if someone has a good idea, even in ministry, that there are times you go with it, you don’t plan every detail, don’t dot all the I’s, and don’t cross all the T’s. There are times to move forward. There are times when you have a limited amount of time to accomplish something, and you need to move forward quickly.
Like Nike says in their commercials, Just do it!
During my last six years in full-time ministry before I retired, I had the joy and pleasure of having one of my youth parents as my right hand “person.” We complemented each other, because when it came to planning events, Bible studies, trips, and projects, we were complete opposites. Amanda likes to have a plan. She is very organized and follows the road to the destination. I, on the other hand, as I have aforementioned, get an idea, and see the result that could happen and want to fire.
In the beginning, this caused us to butt heads quite often, but, over time, we realized if we both worked from our strengths, we would come up with a great product (result).
One example of this would be our weekly Red Letter Youth Night. I came up with the theme (each week, not well in advance). Put together a Powerpoint presentation and knew in my head what I was going to talk about with the students. I seldom wrote my discussion questions down.
Amanda, on the other hand, would plan activities for the evening as well as preparing food or ordering pizza in advance (although she did like to ask me how many pizzas I thought we needed each week.) Our division of efforts worked for us.
It gave me the freedom to come in and socialize with the students for 30 minutes or so, before Bible study. It also allowed me to be a participant in the activities with them and not the leader all the time. Amanda’s detailed planning was every bit as important to the success of our Sunday evening Red Letter worship as was my Powerpoint and worship time. Amanda’s jobs/efforts were all planned out and very well organized, while mine was more fluid.
Of course, there were times when planning is paramount, and you need to take the traditional ready, aim, fire approach to things. For instance, when preparing for a mission trip or going to a youth gathering, it takes many hours of planning to make these events successful.
Was Jesus a ready, fire, aim type of person?
Let’s think about this for a moment. Jesus had three years to accomplish His goals. In three years, He hand-picked twelve Apostles, He healed thousands of people, raised several people from the dead, preached and taught throughout the land including the temple and synagogues, spent quality time with His disciples to prepare them to carry on after He was gone, and mentally prepared Himself for His inevitable death and resurrection.
Did Jesus plan out every moment? I realize we believe that God knows everything that will happen before it does happen As a man/God did Jesus always prepare with a list, a step by step how to for His followers?
Let’s take a look at the Gospel of Luke, chapter 9: 1-6.
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles
And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
These passages tell us how Jesus sent His Apostles out to begin preaching the Gospel and healing on their own. Now Jesus had a plan, and this was part of their training before His departure from earth. For the Apostles in their minds at least, they must have felt pretty ill-prepared. Jesus sent them out with nothing. No extra food, clothing, not even a backpack.
The Apostles were getting their first taste of totally relying on God. Jesus told them, as He does in Matthew 28:18, to “Go.” Jesus said to them to teach, preach, and heal where you are welcome and move on if you’re not. For the Apostles, it was a ready, fire, aim trip.
In Luke chapter ten, Jesus does the same thing. This time He sends out 72 disciples, (beginning to broaden His base) with basically the same instructions, don’t bring anything with you, if you’re welcome in a home or town, preach, teach, and heal. If you’re not, move on to the next village or town. Ready, fire, aim!
There is a time for the ready, aim, fire approach to planning. I firmly believe there is also a time for the ready, fire, aim approach too. Or as author Michael Peters says, “Ready, fire, aim. Do it! Make it happen! Action counts. No one ever sat their way to success.”
Blessings on your day