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
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.