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Developing a Strategic Plan for Your Church
What to do - and what not to do.

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What to do

Some church leaders find planning a formidable exercise. In reality, the planning process is simple — conceptually. It can be described as answering seven key questions:

  1. Spiritual Needs Assessment: What are the greatest spiritual needs of our church and community?
  2. Strengths and Weaknesses: What are the greatest strengths and weaknesses of our church?
  3. Opportunities and Threats or Barriers: What are the most significant ministry opportunities for and potential threats (or barriers) to our church, given the answers to the first two questions?
  4. Ministry Options: What appear to be the most viable options for strengthening the ministry of our church?
  5. Ministry Platform: What is the primary ministry platform on which our specific ministries should be built? Included in the ministry platform are our statement of faith, vision statement, mission statement, philosophy of ministry, and listing of ministries.
  6. Ministry Goals: What goals is the Holy Spirit leading us to strive for to enhance our church's ministry over the next year? The next two to three years?
  7. Action Steps: What action steps must we accomplish to achieve these goals?

Getting your team to agree on the answers to these questions (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) may or may not be simple, depending on the circumstances and the relationships of leaders in your church.

What not to do

In New England, where I live, potholes are in abundance on most side roads. Some can be avoided, while others come upon you so quickly they are difficult to miss. On the avenue called planning, it's important to know the potholes to avoid:

  1. Making Planning Too Complex: There are usually two or three key issues that will be discovered, and, if acted on, will lead to enhanced health and vitality. One church in Boston narrowed their planning to: (1) revising the organization chart, (2) enhancing community life, and (3) streamlining priorities. When these three issues were named, each ministry team could set goals for day-to-day ministry, based on them.
  2. Not Reaching Conclusions and Making an Action Plan: Tie up loose ends along the way, and outline appropriate action steps.
  3. Not Keeping the Action Plan Simple: One church I worked with had such a long document, with dozens of goals and action steps, that it felt overwhelming and didn't win approval. The objective is to create a plan that every member can articulate without having to refer to any documentation.
  4. Not Revisiting the Plan: Your plan should be adjustable along the way, revised and renewed according to the needs and resources available to you. Keep your planning documents alive. Don't shelve them, file them, or formalize them in pretty documents. At Leadership Transformations (www.LeadershipTransformations.org), we hold our plans loosely, in a "white paper" format, with lots of room for give and take each step of the way.
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Topics:Decision making, Direction, Goals, Growth, Master plan, Planning, Strategy, Vision
Filters:Church board, Church staff, Deacon, Discipleship, Elder, Pastor
References:Proverbs 3:5, Proverbs 16:3, Proverbs 29:18

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Tumsime Lazarus

June 12, 2015  12:13am

I appreciate your concern on trying to build the church of Christ. Am an appointed person in my church to develop the strategic plan so as we can grow and come with living projects that will directly help the community and church believer as well. I thank for your helpful words that truly will help me in accomplishing the task that the church has given me. For person who wishes to help me in task email in laztum@yahoo.com. am from Tanzania

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June 03, 2015  11:18am

HUMBLE REQUEST ON PARTNERSHIP TOGETHER. Greetings in Jesus name, how are you hope fine the same applies to me. First I am Reverend Philip Maiyo from Kenya and I have ministry called Peace community, I have 400 pastors and 100 evangelists and my churches are widely spread in 12 counties of Kenya. This ministry of mine consist of mainly the people from the minority group of people called the Ogieksengwer The main request to you is that we need to partnership together so that our vision of spreading the word of God to the whole world will be fulfilled, also in joining together we will be able to sustain and help this community to be self-dependent even in terms of businesses since we have orphans and widows with us, Also my community still live in very low standards of living and if we shall partnership together things like building schools and churches and bible school,also we shall build one hospital so that all the people from this community we benefit,we are also requsting banks to join hand together with us so that we can proceed together. Also we are proposing for we makea schedule in which we shall be visiting one another from to time also we shall join our churches and your to be one thing. Rev Philiph Maiyo 0723660622. Facebook:Philiph.maiyo e-mail: philiphmaiyo@yahoo.com website:ogieksengwerpastors.org NB: please have this letter and read trough it while being guided by the holy spirit and please reply to me when you have read it.

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May 05, 2015  3:44am

Dear servant of the Lord Receive my heartfelt greetings in the name of the living god.My names are Benard Chuma from Kenya,God blessed me with a wife and 4children plus 17 orphans i am caring for.More than this I am a christian leading a group of 43 believers with the purpose of spreading the Gospel to the whole world(Mark 16:15,James 1:27).I thank God very much for what you are doing after i visited your webpage.I ask you if you can extend your ministry to our community that you affiliate with our small fellowship.We warmly welcome you to come,teach us and establish your ministry. May God grant you desire and strength as you stand strong in His word for the end is near,May He sustain you in His Love and peace in the whole of your life until you serve Him again before the throne in the world of eternity.Please pray for us. Looking forward to hear from you. Faithfully in Christ our Savior. pastor Benard Chuma.

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March 11, 2015  10:37am

I being elected to be the Strategic Plan point person in myy church. I would apprecciate any help given...im at latinles1@msn.com and pray for me and my church MCC Richmond.

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mengistu segni

May 02, 2014  8:03pm

am so thankful for the reference. It helped me much to build and growth my churcuh and my strategic plan of our church so i say thank u again my God bless u more and more

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