Action Plans

Action Plans

Turning Your Bright Ideas into Shining Successes

Action Plans No comments

Convert Your Strategy Into Action PlansYou know the feeling, Pastor. 

At least I do.

You’ve cast a bold vision in front of your congregation and 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 unfulfilled. 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…?”

Oops. Your bright idea isn’t looking so bright anymore.

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? 

Who will manage the calendar dates involved in step three?  What date will the budget for it be approved?

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 strategy. 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?

You Can Start Today

I don’t recommend the strategic planning process to churches because outside coaches have all the right ideas.  They probably don’t.  YOU probably do, at least as far as how ministry should work in your context.  But a good coach can help you turn those good ideas into specific actionable plans, the kind that get measured, and the kind that get done.

So, as self-serving illustration, I’ll set it up like this:

STRATEGY: Utilize the services of a church consulting group to help develop growth strategies

ACTION PLAN

1. Fill out the interest form on our homepage.

2. Set a date to meet with a strategist from Leadership Outreach.

3. Discuss the need for organization-wide strategic planning at your next leadership meeting.

Why I Started Leadership Outreach

Action Plans, Vision No comments

“Your mission is too important to attempt without a plan.”

Simply put, something’s got to change. The statistics are scary. Churches are folding. Pastors are quitting. Non-profits are failing. You’ve read the stats. But what can we do? It’s time we re-think what we are doing. It’s time we reevaluate our methods and programs. It’s time we renew our commitment to the gospel. It’s time for a change.

Perhaps I’m a bit unusual, but change excites me. I love to see, hear, or read about people, organizations, or churches that have overcome incredible odds to reach their mission or fulfill their purpose. It inspires me. Change becomes necessary when we begin to lose momentum, when we acquiesce to status quo, when we encounter a major obstacle or when our environment changes around us despite what we want.

We all face obstacles that stand in the way of our progress…whether it’s a financial hurdle, a physical ailment, or the baggage from a bad decision in the past.

Non-profit organizations and churches, just like people, must find ways to move toward their desired future while overcoming the obstacles before them… pushing forward their unique calling and purpose. They need to change to make this happen.

Having been a pastor for over twenty years, I know the frustration of trying to decide what is the next “right” step for our organization. In a world where the stakes are high (dealing with the eternal souls of people), it is extremely important that the leaders of the organization make wise choices.

From my experience, too many decisions are made “by the seat of the pants.” Major initiatives are undertaken without the proper data to support them. Often times, programs are started because a successful church somewhere is doing it…therefore, it must be the key to growth and success.

When I was a senior pastor one of our mottos was, “Go to other churches and steal their stuff.” Then Craig Groeschel at lifechurch.tv started giving it away free…we didn’t even have to steal it! Here’s a potential problem with this mentality: by continually adding more “stuff” to our list of activities we can find ourselves bogged down, understaffed, underfunded, and too diffused to powerfully execute our mission. There may be plenty of activity but where are the results?

It is important to ask, “As a church or non-profit, are we doing what GOD CALLEDUS to do?” This is where the value of strategic planning comes in.

Leadership Outreach was started to help church and non-profit leaders develop and execute strategies for growth. My desire is for our consultants to come alongside faith-based organizations and help them discover God’s unique vision for their ministry and then develop a strategy to accomplish that vision. Through facilitated discussions we seek to discover the uniqueness of an organization and the best strategies for achieving its potential.

A church that tries to do it all, be everything to everybody, reach every man, woman, and child, runs the risk of dying from exhaustion…exhausted people, exhausted resources, and exhausted funds. One church simply can’t do it all. One powerful result of strategic planning is determining what our church or NPO will NOT do.

Successfully leading an organization through change is difficult…especially if the people do not yet realize the need for change. That is why it is so important to define reality before attempting a big initiative or a change in direction. Are the people ready for change? Is there data (demographic analysis, survey results, health assessments, etc.) that support a need for change? Change for the sake of change can be disastrous.

Wise leaders do their homework and prepare their staff and people for the process of discovering God’s next steps for the organization. This is where Leadership Outreach consultants become so helpful to churches and NPO’s. Our teams of facilitators work with your people to discover God’s plan for your ministry and then establish the framework for seeing that vision accomplished.

If your church, ministry, or non-profit organization is in need of change, call Leadership Outreach today to discuss how our team of trained strategists can assist you in developing your unique, God-ordained strategic plan.