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Month December 2014

Strategies: How to turn them in Action Plans

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You know the feeling, Pastor.  At least I do.

You’ve cast a bold vision in front of your congregation, you’ve verbally committed to a project that would change lives!  But then, in the hustle of daily responsibility, and the grind of ordinary human weakness, those good intentions go un-fulfilled. People who were nodding in excited agreement at the new ministry prospect went back to their own priorities, never giving another thought to yours.

The plan doesn’t advance past “go” and you’re called to account a few months later: “Pastor, whatever happened to….?”  Or, “So, who is working on…?”

Strategies: Your heart was right, your vision was clear.

You may have even laid down a good set of strategies to accomplish the objective.

But in the end, crickets.  And, honestly, embarrassment.

The failure was in the conversion of strategy to action plans.

Strategy talks about how an objective gets completed, action plans assign specific responsibilities and prescribe detailed steps.

What is step one and who will take it?  When?  How much will step one cost, and where is that money coming from?

What is step two, and who is responsible for that?

Strategies: An action plan turns a bright idea into a concrete to-do list.

As a pastor, I didn’t lack for vision, or even for strategies. I had a pretty strong sense of what should be done, what would probably “work,” and even the right pathway to get there.  But I struggled a lot when it came to implementation, delegation, assignment, and (MOSTLY) accountability.

I would be lamenting the lack of “buy-in” or volunteerism from people, when really I should have been making a spreadsheet.  My people weren’t unwilling, they were just weren’t directed.  And whose fault was that?

One reason I recommend the strategic planning process to churches is not because an outside coach has all the right ideas.  They probably don’t.  YOU probably do, at least as far as how ministry should work in your context.  What a strategist can do is help you turn those good ideas into specific actionable plans, the kind that get measured, and the kind that get DONE.

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