Sunday, 2 March 2014
strategic planning of the church
2. Why do a strategic plan?
3. What is strategic planning?
4. How do the elements fit together?
8. Strategic Planning for Ministry Effectiveness
9. Planning a Healing Service: Worship
10. Church Social Work Specialization
What will your church be like in three years? Will you be a few steps closer to realizing your vision? If you do not change anything, will the future be any different than the past? One sure-fire way to impact your church’s future is to dust off an old tool—the Strategic Plan.
No one strategic model fits all organizations, but the planning process includes certain basic elements that all churches can use to explore their vision, goals, and next steps of an effective strategic plan.
Why do a strategic plan?
Strategic planning is a process that helps focus on aligning the unique gifts an resources that God has given your organization to take advantage of your opportunities. Scripture says, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:15–16). As you do the planning, let God do the directing.
For the Christian, this is not simply projection-based planning but the realization that through prayer and obedience you can be a catalyst to help bring about a future that is in alignment with God’s will. Through prayer, the framework for a plan can be established. We do the planning, but God does the directing.
What is strategic planning?
Simply put, a strategic plan is the formalized road map that describes how your organization executes the chosen strategy. A plan spells out where an organization is going over the next year or more and how it is going to get there. A strategic plan is a management tool that serves the purpose of helping an organization do a better job, and it improves organizations because a plan focuses the energy, resources, and time of everyone in the organization in the same direction.
Strategic planning does not have to be mysterious, complicated, or time-consuming. In fact, it should be quick, simple, and easily executed. Additionally, strategic planning is not just something you cross off your list of “to-dos”—you must create a culture of strategic thinking, so your strategic planning does not become an annual retreat but, instead, a part of daily decision making.
How do the elements fit together?
Because it is easy to confuse how all the elements of a plan come together and where they go, the visual Strategy Map in Figure 2 is a simple, yet clear way of looking at the whole plan. By placing all the elements of the plan into three areas, you can clearly see how the pieces fit together. Each area has certain components of the plan. The three areas are:
Where are we now?
Where are we going?
How will we get there?
Where are we now?
As you think about where your organization is now, you want to look at your foundational elements (mission and values) to make sure there has not been a change. More than likely, you will not revise these two areas very often. Then you want to look at your current strategic position, which is where you look at what is happening internally and externally to determine how you need to shift and change.
A vision is a picture of what your church’s future makeup will be and where the organization is headed. Vision provides a clear mental picture, by faith, of what your church will look like in five to ten years from now. Forming a strategic vision should provide long-term direction, delineate the organizational activities to be pursued, the capabilities it plans to develop, and infuse the church with a sense of purposeful action. It serves as a unifying focal point for everyone in the organization like a North Star. It delineates the future focus and where the church is going.
A Godly vision is based on God’s will for the church. It is a picture of seeking the needs of other people and meeting those needs. It is vitally connected to the heart of God and His perspective. A vision which is inspired by God is God-sized and will require the power of God to fulfill. A Godly vision makes your heart surge, carries you to heights you never dreamed possible, and causes exponential growth. You are empowered and motivated by it. It seizes hold of you and orders your thoughts and actions. Scripture says, “Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run.” (Habakkuk 2:2)
Implementation is the most difficult part of the planning process: it is actually achieving the goals set out in the plan while remaining alert and flexible to new opportunities as they unfold. The overall aim is integrating the strategic planning with daily, weekly, and monthly routines. It is good to remember that a plan that is well-implemented brings Godly success to the church.
An administrator devoted to the successful implementation of the plan is key. The plan needs to be supported with people, money, time, systems, and, above all, communication. Communicate the plan to everyone in your organization. Hold a monthly or quarterly strategy meeting to report on the progress toward achieving the goals. Take corrective actions as needed. Above all, remember that implementing the plan requires continued daily prayer for direction accompanied by obedient action in response to what God reveals.
First of all, one of the things you might want to think about is disclosing at different levels. Primary staff should know every detail of your shooter response plan. With laypeople, greeters are especially important.
As a matter of fact, greeters should be some of the very first people you train. During our disaster leadership workshop, we had a police chief come in and do training on active shooters. He said the first deterrent to preventing an active shooter is to train your greeters to be on the lookout for anyone that might seem suspicious. That doesn't mean they're trained to tackle somebody they think is suspicious. But the police chief said that many times just asking, "Can I help you? Can I get you help? Is there something I can do for you?" can offset what could snowball into a more dangerous situation.
The way you would equip your greeters will probably be very different from how you would equip your congregation, which is also different from how you would train your staff. It's about having key people in the know, and the rest of your congregation informed enough to follow direction.
Strategic Planning for Ministry Effectiveness
Church ministries must have good administration and management skills, tools, and prayer in order to reach its greatest level of ministry effectiveness states that “planning as part of the management process is crucial to the success of any organization, this is especially true for the Church.” A strategic plan is broad in scope and identifies how an organization will commit its resources over a pre-selected period. It is a long-term plan analyzing and creating objectives to reach a specific set of goals. When the strategic plan is incorporated into the ministry it involves dividing and assigning the responsibilities of each task with specified resources and completion target dates. The advantages of planning help ministries adapt to changing environments and specifies to whom the responsibilities belong. It gives a sense of direction for assessing the market position, and establishing objectives, priorities, and strategies to accomplish the goals with motivation . The function of a statement of purpose is to define the role of the organization. It creates a common direction, and provides the foundation for job and program descriptions, with standards for measurement 
Strategic planning is a basic six-step process including; the external environmental analysis, internal analysis, a clearly defined mission statement with goals and objectives, formulation, implementation, and control. While there are different methods and step-arrangement processes for attaining the goals of an organization, any formulation process still goes through the basic six-step strategic plan outlined by Peter Wright, Mark Kroll, and John Parnell, in Strategic Management Concepts and Cases, 4th Edition.
The first stage of developing a strategic plan is an analysis of the external environmental opportunities and threats of an organization, which is the first half of the S.W.O.T. (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. This external overview includes analysis of the macro environmental forces, industry environment, and environmental trends.
Through evaluation of the opportunities and threats of the organization the four macro environmental forces including; the political-legal, economic, technological and social forces. The political-legal force examines the rules and regulations enforced by the government or similar authority. The economic forces are the main forces of the economy that are influencing the people of the community. The technological forces are the new opportunities or limitations according to the technology available. The last of the macro environmental forces are the social forces. These are the social views of the community and their opinions toward certain values and activities.
Planning a Healing Service: Worship
Worship and ritual are powerful ways for congregations to bless one another and bring healing to people facing cancer and other serious illness. There are many possible goals and structures for healing services but in its essence, ritual offers all who enter an invitation to pause at the sacred threshold of the holy. We suggest you take some time with your co-planners to reflect on the occasion, the participants, and the hopes, before going into the specifics.
Church Social Work Specialization
MSW students who are preparing to work in congregations and/or missions and ministry programs of the church are encouraged to pursue a specialization in Church Social Work. Students may elect to do the Church Social Work Specialization in a particular, substantive area of church social work. Examples might include: community development; community ministries; counseling; older adults; youth and children services; etc. Students completing all requirements are awarded the Church Social Work specialization at the School of Social Work Convocation. This document certifies that the student has demonstrated advanced practice knowledge and skills in a substantive area within Church Social Work. The specialization does not replace but builds on the students’ concentration. While it is not required, social work students who intend to practice within congregational settings are also encouraged to prepare for this role by enrolling in degree options such as the Master of Divinity or Master of Theological Studies. The basic requirements for the Church Social Work specialization are the same for both Advanced Standing and Standard Degree option students
A strategic plan is a living, dynamic document. It drives your church and must be integrated into every fiber of your organization, so all staff is helping to move the church in the same direction. All the best missions and strategies in the world are a waste of time if they are not implemented. To be truly successful, the plan cannot gather dust on the bookshelf. You know what “shelf” we are talking about.
Strategic planning is about keeping the plan active so that it does not gather that proverbial dust. Know what your end result looks like and where your milestones should be. Plan your near-term actions and evaluate your progress each quarter. Are you where you thought you would be if you had been on target? Or, if you are off target, how far are you off? The course correction to put you back on track becomes your next action plan. When your church has a clear plan and acts according to the plan, you are going to go from where you are to where you want to go, therefore, ensuring your success!
1. Practical Insight from a Cross Section of Ministry Leaders. Berkley, James D., ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co., 1994.
2. Elaine Ramshaw, “Liturgy for Healing”, pages 9-17 in Liturgy vol. 9, no. 4 (Fall 1991): Ritual and Reconciliation.
3. Chaffee, Paul. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997.
4. James L. Brooks, The Unbroken Circle: A Toolkit for Congregations Around Illness, End of Life, and Grief (Durham: Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life, 2009)
5. Bruce Epperly, Healing Worship: Purpose and Practice (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2006),
6. Jan Phillips, Divining the Body: Reclaim the Holiness of your Physical Self (Vermont: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2005)
7. Brooks, p. 38; Jann Aldredge-Clanton, Counseling People with Cancer, in the series, “Counseling and Pastoral Theology”, Andrew D. Lester, series editor (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998).
8. A Guide for Every Member. Callahan, Kennon L. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.
9. Demystifying the Congregational Budget. Morris, H. H. Washington, DC: The Alban Institute, 1988.
10. 44 Ways to Expand the Financial Base of Your Congregation. Schaller, Lyle E. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989.
11. A Step-by-Step Guide for Church Leaders. Zehring, John William. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989.
 Practical Insight from a Cross Section of Ministry Leaders. Berkley, James D., ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co., 1994.
 Elaine Ramshaw, “Liturgy for Healing”, pages 9-17 in Liturgy vol. 9, no. 4 (Fall 1991): Ritual and Reconciliation.
 Chaffee, Paul. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997.
 James L. Brooks, The Unbroken Circle: A Toolkit for Congregations Around Illness, End of Life, and Grief (Durham: Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life, 2009), pp. 57-59.
 Bruce Epperly, Healing Worship: Purpose and Practice (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2006), p. 44.
 Jan Phillips, Divining the Body: Reclaim the Holiness of your Physical Self (Vermont: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2005) p. 44.
 Brooks, p. 38; Jann Aldredge-Clanton, Counseling People with Cancer, in the series, “Counseling and Pastoral Theology”, Andrew D. Lester, series editor (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998).