The Power of a Simple Strategic Plan
It was early August this year, with ministry in full flight and our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) barely coping, that our Executive Pastor John reminded us that it was strategic planning time. The shock was evident.
Most of us gasped and for a moment commented “Where has the year gone. It’s only a few months until Christmas! This is ridiculous planning for the next three years when we haven’t finished the current year!” John added to the pressure informing us that this year’s strategic planning exercise was critical, for we had just completed our previous three-year plan, and now needed to work at our new plan for the next three years.
After the initial shock and as mature staff recognizing and accepting the critical importance of the exercise, the SLT, composed of our 9 senior pastoral staff who oversee all ministry, and our Administrator, began to seriously engage with our strategic planning process.
As Senior Pastor and according to the constitution I was to revisit our vision statement. Through prayer, discussion with staff, searching Scripture, and discussion with elders, I finally arrived at the vision statement for our church for the next 3 years.
Our journey over the last few years had been focussed on becoming a church that seriously reflected the values of the Kingdom of God. So rather than forge a vision statement that was situational and reflective of the Senior Pastor’s predisposition, I was strongly compelled to deliver a vision statement that briefly summarized our Kingdom journey over the last few years, reflected our current position, and more particularly projected what Christ as Head of the church, would want for His church.
This exercise was stretching and initially confronting, but when completed, left me with a great sense of peace and excitement. Our strategic planning was to be strongly based on our Kingdom vision and reflective of our unchanging mission and core values.
As I worked on the vision statement, members of our SLT were required to do a SWAT analysis of their ministry and the broader church, summarize their findings, and additionally include comment after prayer, Scripture search and consultation with their respective teams, on what God was impressing upon them for our church over the next few years.
The SLT completed their assignment, submitted their findings to me, and I prepared a summary paper for circulation prior to our two-day conference. John in the meantime, drew up a program for the conference embracing prayer, worship, reflection and evaluation, and time for working through our strategic planning steps to successfully accomplish both our vision and mission.
The SLT, covered by the prayers of the congregation, went into conference. What transpired was incredibly exciting and challenging. At the end of the two days the SLT emerged with a high degree of clarity.
We had arrived at 4 critical success factors: Growth Groups, single purpose worship gatherings, engaging God, and community missional connection. In each area we were able to define appropriate measurements to objectively evaluate performance and achievements, set 3 year objectives in each area, spell out church-wide and departmental initiatives, and declare our shared goals.
On the surface it didn’t seem like a great achievement for several weeks of consultation and two days of conference. However, as SLT members have taken the simple outcomes and began formulating their departmental time-framed strategic plans, we have begun to appreciate the incredible power of a simple, achievable, understandable and manageable strategic plan. These four critical success factors are already changing our whole outlook and structure of our church, creating a sense of renewed motivation and excitement, and a confidence that these next 3 years will be transformational for our church, its congregation and the success of its mission.
Kenmore Baptist Church
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