“At its root, leadership is the ability to see the present situation of a church, envision a better future, and then develop a plan to take the people to that future. Effective planning takes place when leadership decisions are driven by a God-given vision of hope for a better future for your church”. (Gary McIntosh, Here Today, There Tomorrow:Unleashing Your Church’s Potential)
There are two approaches that I commonly see churches take when planning for their future.
One approach is to use what they have used in the past. A second approach is to use what other churches have done.
There is a third approach you can use to develop the game plan for your ministry. While you can use something you have done in the past or copy another church’s ministry model I believe it is best for you to cultivate an individual game plan that is customized for your ministry. Yes, it will take time and thought and effort and earnestly seeking God’s mind but I believe it is worth every ounce of effort.
Below are 10 steps to help you develop your customized ministry plan:
1. Clearly define your overall purpose for existing as a ministry.
This is the WHY of your ministry. I Cor. 10:31 instructs us to do everything to God’s glory. I view this as the “umbrella” under which we should do everything in life. If it doesn’t honor God then we shouldn’t think, be or do it.
2. Gain an understanding of your context, code and culture; both your congregation and community.
This is WHERE you are and WHAT it is like. This involves demographics, psychographics and Ekklegraphics. It requires you to exegete your context.
3. Identify your core values.
This is WHY we do ministry. What motivates you? What is most important to you and your church? What do you feel deeply about? Our core values drive our ministries so it is important to have a clear understanding of what they are and how they work.
4. Define your mission.
This is WHAT we are called to do. This is your mandate and you must determine how you will fulfill the Great Commission. What distinguishes you from other churches in your area? This involves your methods and target audiences that develop your specific ministry model. I believe each church is unique and therefore is in need of discerning God’s unique plan for their ministry.
5. Discover God’s vision for your church.
This is WHERE you are going. (Destination) Discerning God’s vision for your life and ministry is critical to your success as a leader. Your congregation and community depend on your ability to discover and develop His design for your ministry.
6. Develop your ministry game plan or strategic plan.
This is HOW you are going to carry out your mission. Your ministry methods may include programs, projects, personnel and numerous other things to help you carry out your mission. You aren’t likely to realize God’s vision for your ministry is you don’t plan well.
7. Execute your plan.
This is the DO in ministry. What good is your strategic plan if you can’t implement it? It is one thing to know what is right and another thing altogether to actually do what is right. It has been said by men much older and wiser than me that this is the big challenge for churches today. Implementing the plan, making it come to life and actually happen is a seldom occurrence in our churches today. Plan your work and work your plan.
8. Evaluate your plan as you implement it.
This is the MANAGEMENT of your plan. If your plan is to work long term you will need to monitor and measure it. You have to determine if you are performing well. Are you reaching your goals? Simply put, is your plan working?
9. Make adjustments to your plan if needed.
Our son was taught in the Marines to adapt and adjust. Ministry Marines should do the same. Plan to regularly MODIFY your game plan.
10. CONTINUALLY keep your thumb on the pulse of God and your environment (church and community).
I believe the rule should be to never allow your ministry to go on auto-pilot. Repeat the pathway periodically to keep your ministry fresh and vibrant. In other words, never stop asking what is next and planning to carry it out.
Below are three online training tools that can help you develop your next ministry plan.
Below are articles to help you develop your game plan.
Marshall Shannon Ministry Design Coach www.ministrydesigntraining.com www.ministrydesignconcepts.com 864.977.1632 Eguipping and Encouraging Pastors