How Your Church Benefits from Strategic Planning

In deciding whether or not to plan, there are often questions pastors have but seldom ask, at least not out loud. Do I really want to plan? Will a strategic planning process actually do any good? Do I want to spend all that energy in planning? My answer to all of those questions is a resounding yes! Why?  Well, the benefits of planning far outweigh the alternative of not planning. Consider just a few :

Clarifies mission and core values

A successful process allows you to clarify your church’s mission, vision and core values. This then gives direction to the planning, operations and decision making of the church leadership. It also gives you a means by which you can evaluate current and new activities and build a plan for the future.

Identifies Priorities

Planning is not a process of prioritizing according to the tyranny of the urgent. Nor is it a random scheme of trying the latest best thing a pastor or elder read in a book. Certainly books can be helpful, but every church is different. What works in one setting may be far from appropriate in another setting. Through our process of due diligence, we work with churches to help clarify the critical planning issues and then begin to identify priorities. This helps to focus the staff and guide the planning process. In this way the eventual plans that come from the process fit the culture and are by no means random.

Establishes clear direction

Initially, we try to help the church create or clarify its mission, vision, critical issues and core values. This allows the church to move quickly through a process that establishes future direction by developing a road map of goals, strategies, action plans, timelines and budgets. I have had pastors and staff members complain about lay leaders inserting themselves into church operations. One of the great antidotes for this is to have a plan that the governing body has helped develop and ratify. Then if it’s not in the plan, you are not obliged to do it. Of course, if it’s a good idea that makes sense to most people, then you are also at liberty to revisit it. But having the plan gives you that flexibility.

Focuses decision making

Establishing goals, strategies and action plans allows the pastor along with the leadership team also to focus decision-making. That includes decision making not only for operations but also for important activities like ministry expansion, resource allocation, fundraising and church growth.

Enhances communication and teamwork

Once you have completed a planning process and are committed to implementing the plans, communication improves and teamwork grows. However, you have to be committed to the goals and manage to the plan. It’s not unusual during our planning processes with churches, to hear people share something like, “ I didn’t know you were doing that. I’m doing that as well!” Initially it’s funny, but the duplication of effort can also be quite costly.

Increases success

Ultimately, you want a process that leaves you with a plan that produces an increased level of success. Certainly that success can be measured in a variety of ways. However, the increased efficiency, effectiveness and commitment our process helps produce are primary factors that contribute to that success.  Maybe our online products can help you.